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HILLSBORO: Trojans seeking pitchers

News editor

With Central Kansas League first-team pitcher Austin Cross returning, it wouldn’t be accurate to say Hillsboro’s cupboard is bare of pitchers, but coach Doug Dick knows it’s in need of stocking.

“We probably have about eight kids I’m trying to work at pitching with,” Dick said. “Out of those guys we’re going to have to come up with a couple more starters.”

Graduated from last year’s team are starters Cody Delk and Jordan Faul.

“Both were very good pitchers and produced well at the plate,” Dick said. “Those are going to be two holes to fill.”

Another pitcher, Dylan Nelson, moved to Mississippi. Justus Hilliard decided to run track this spring, and two other players switched over to golf.

“That’s the price you pay for having four spring sports,” Dick said.

Nonetheless, Dick has a good group of returning all-league players, including Cross, who was all-state as a sophomore.

As the Trojans look to solidify their infield, Cross will see time at first base, where he was all-league, and shortstop. He will bat cleanup, but his greatest value to the team will be on the mound.

“He looks really, really good early on, hitting spots really well in the bullpen,” Dick said. “Obviously we’re hoping Cross can go deep into every game he throws. After that I have a lot of question marks.”

All-state outfielder Micah Allen will lead off and play some in the infield; he also is a candidate for pitching.

David Dick will be behind the plate for at least 80 percent of the Trojans’ games, Coach Dick said.

He played catcher for varsity last year, and while he needed help early in the season calling pitches, he learned quickly. He will handle the calls for the more experienced pitchers, and take on more of that responsibility for the younger hurlers as the season progresses.

Dick also will be used in a limited role as a pitcher.

Jakob Hanschu will see some time at catcher, but will spend more time complementing Allen in the outfield.

“He’s probably one of the best outfielders I’ve coached as far as ar strength and range,” Dick said. “He’s got a lot of pop on the bat.”

Sophomores Braden Vogt, Tyson Reimer, Ben Cope, and Ryan Stepanek will fill multiple roles for the Trojans as Dick shuffles his lineup. Cope and freshman Kaden Kleiner will share pitching duties as well.

“When you have 13 kids, you’re going to use everybody,” Dick said.

The CKL is traditionally a strong baseball league, and that should be the case again this year, Dick said.

Hillsboro’s biggest competitive challenge against the likes of Pratt, Larned, Hoisington, and Smoky Valley will be numbers.

“Those programs are bringing in 26 kids, twice as many as we’ve got,” Dick said. “I’d put our best nine against any of theirs. The question is depth. We have to play well against everybody. Realistically, if we finish about .500 in our league, I’ll be really pleased.”

Last modified March 26, 2015

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