HILLSBORO: Kendrick returns to Hillsboro to lead baseball
Just when things were starting look up for Luke Moore and the Trojan baseball team after two years, Moore bolted for Pennsylvania to coach Division III football.
Hillsboro hasn’t been to the state tournament since the Obama administration was in D.C., but Moore’s teams took giant strides each game and improved from one season to the next.
In Moore’s two seasons, the Trojans improved from 6-16 to 12-10, going 11-9 in a stiff Central Kansas League.
Hillsboro gave powerhouse Marion all it could handle in a 6-5 semifinal loss before the Warriors went on to capture third place in Class 3A.
Enter Peabody athletic director Tyson Kendrick, a former Tabor star and 49th-round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers in 2010.
“Luke did a lot of good things with the program and put it in a good place,” Kendrick said. “When the position opened up, I was excited for the opportunity and grateful that the Peabody superintendent and board of education allowed me to coach in addition to my administration duties here.
“This year is off to a great start with the exception of the weather. We have had limited time outside, but have made the most of the opportunities we have gotten.”
Kendrick’s no stranger to coaching. He spent a year in Fairfax, Oklahoma and at Winfield, guiding the Vikings to their only winning season the last five years at 13-9.
Graduation took a toll on the Trojans in certain areas, but the shed’s not completely empty with a solid, experienced nucleus returning that can play multiple positions.
Outside junior Jack Parks, and reliever Hunter Hein, experience isn’t that heavy on the mound with the majority of the returners seeing limited action as freshmen.
There’s still plenty of potential to stymie opponents’ hitting, though, as there’s plenty of arms for Kendrick to choose from.
Whoever’s on the mound will have good depth to throw to with the senior duo of Brooks Gardner, and Jorge Hanschu behind the plate.
Gardner can also play infield as he splits his time at third base and Hanschu will help anchor the outfield along with the junior Hein.
Sophomore Landon Roberts figures to be in the mix as well as he saw duties a year ago in the infield, behind the plate and on the mound.
Three-sport junior standout Caleb Potucek will spearhead the infield and has the athleticism to play any position, including pitcher.
Kendrick’s got a good freshmen group coming in, too, led by Potucek’s brother Matthew, and Peabody’s Phillip Young.
Matthew made in an immediate impact for both the Trojans’ football and basketball teams, and possesses the same athleticism to follow in his brother’s footsteps.
Kendrick should get an early idea where the Trojans stand right out of the gate.
Within the first week, Hillsboro will have hosted Class 4A juggernaut and 2018 state qualifier Pratt and Haven.
The Greenbacks feature one of the state’s premier athletes in FCS’ South Dakota Coyote football commit Travis Theis.
“We look good offensively so far, we just need to find the right mix on defense as well as on the mound,” Kendrick said. “I’m looking forward to the upcoming season.”
Last modified March 27, 2019