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April 11, 2014

BASEBALL: Howard County preview

Panthers, Tigers embark on new coaching eras

(Continued)

Western opened with a victory over Lafayette Central Catholic last week. The Panthers return to action Tuesday at Tipton.

NORTHWESTERN

Beachy will look to put the Tigers back on track after they slipped to a 12-11 record last season.

“We’ve got eight seniors and we’re going to go as far as they carry us,” he said. “We have a few young guys who will get a lot of playing time, a couple freshmen and a couple sophomores. I’m looking for big growth from them, but it’s really going to lay on the shoulders of the seniors whether we can make some adjustments and win some ballgames.

“It’s going to depend on pitching. That’s our big question mark at the moment. That’s what we struggled with in our opener [a 15-6 loss to Southwood last week].”

Beachy points to hitting as a potential strength.

“I think we have a great group of hitters who can hit the ball for power, hit the ball for average, hit it to all fields,” he said. “The more we see some pitching, I think we’ll be able to make more adjustments and put up a lot of runs.”

The Tigers’ top returning hitters include seniors Logan Macaluso (.436, 20 RBI) and Keagan Downey (.412, team-high 12 extra-base hits, 15 RBI) and junior Austin Pyle (.360). Those three players likely will man the middle of the Tigers’ batting order.

Defensively, sophomore Tim Blankenberger and junior Jake Vent are catchers, Downey is the top first baseman, sophomore Quinlan Armstrong and freshman Shawn Smith are second basemen, Pyle and senior Evan Matlock are shortstops and Macaluso is the top third baseman. The top outfielders are seniors Billy Parslow and Erick Vas and freshman Trey Richmond.

Seniors Austin Bowley and Dylan Sheely and juniors Tom Yager, Drew Harris and Ryan Cavazos offer depth.

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