Early schedule to make or break Trojan baseball hopes
When thinking of the Trojan baseball team’s 2017 season, the first thing that might come to mind was the inability to put good teams away.
Numerous games were within the Trojans’ reach, only to go wayside of victory, with Hillsboro finishing 6-16 in coach Luke Moore’s first season.
That uncanny trend continued until Hillsboro’s season came to an end in a 13-3 regional semifinal loss to eventual Class 3A runner-up Marion.
As the second year begins for Moore, the former Trojan standout is confident brighter days are in store.
“The nine guys we’ve got coming back know what we’re expecting, they’ve been more accepting of my coaching, and things are looking better,” Moore said. “Lots of the guys had good summers, but it’s going to be interesting to see how well that translates into this season.”
Moore and the Trojans will get a pretty good indication on how they measure up in the first half of the season.
If Hillsboro can weather the onslaught from the CKL juggernauts such as Nickerson, Larned, Hoisington, Haven, and Pratt, the Trojans could have smooth sailing.
While Moore has a good corps returning, the remaining six players aren’t particularly well tested, making for questionable depth.
Pitching should be a strength with senior Kaden Kleiner back for one last run.
Kleiner was one of several Trojans who enjoyed a progressive summer, and his speed and athleticism will make him one a force anywhere he’s playing.
Six Peabody players join the Trojans, with sophomore Jack Parks giving Moore another starting pitcher.
Chance Elliott and Bryant Young are no strangers to the Trojans, and both are options to go on the mound when they’re not in the outfield.
Sophomore Hunter Hein figures to provide relief on the mound as well as depth in the outfield.
Junior Brooks Gardner is the likely starter at catcher, but is one of many who can go both on the mound and in the field.
Gardner’s fellow classmate Jorge Hanschu is a second alternative at catcher when not in the outfield. He’s another that can provide innings at pitcher.
With the top five spots the strength of the Trojan offense, Hillsboro’s starting pitchers are likely going to have to have leads to work with to prevent waters from getting choppy.
Without a lot of experience back at pitcher, Moore could get antsy if the Trojans have to work from too far behind.
Hillsboro’s season opens Tuesday at home against Nickerson.
Last modified March 21, 2018