By Chris Parker
Last year’s canceled season has only motivated the returning Ash Grove baseball players to get the most out of the 2021 season.
“Our young men were very disappointed that they could not show the results of their hard work last season. However, it has motivated them not to take this year’s opportunity for granted. We have a very focused group of players, “said Ash Grove head coach Berrah Brown. “It is difficult to explain how much a canceled season really affects the players and their families. It’s a whole season that the players did not get to bind and further build relationships with each other. Not to mention that parents were not able to be equally involved in the program. It definitely had an effect on our city. Being able to let the young men represent their city on the field, and having the city rally behind our players and show their support has moved to a level I never expected. This season will be a great experience for everyone involved. ”
Brown highlighted three seniors in Dalton Carr, Deegan Vauter and Jake Thompson along with sophomores Brock Mooneyham and Parker Crow as team leaders.
Carr is a pitcher and third baseman.
“Dalton is one of our leaders both on and off the field. He shows great position and calm on the court, and is one of our strongest hitters, “said Brown. “Dalton hangs his hat on pitch. He has the rare ability to put the ball wherever he wants it, on the court. ”
Vauter will play shortstop.
“Deegan is very smooth defensively. He has good range and a strong arm. He wants to be our defensive leader on the field, “said Brown.
Thompson is a tool player who will play all over the infield, outfield and on the catcher.
“Jake is an incredible athlete. His ability to play many positions makes him very valuable to our team. However, his ability to run in races is his strongest trait, “said Brown. “Jake will see considerable time behind the record when he is not in the field. Jake’s athletics make him a solid backstop. ”
Mooneyham will play in the middle of shortstop and second base while also pitching.
“Brock is a great talent. His baseball IQ and work ethic are incredible. He is the type of player who makes everyone around him better. He will be one of our stronger arms on the mound, “said Brown. “Brock has a lot of movement on the field. He is good at changing speeds and keeping hitters in balance. ”
Crow will play in the field and on the field.
“Parker has a strong arm and even stronger bats. His speed and athleticism make him a fun player to watch. We also want to share a place in the starting rotation, “said Brown. “Parker is another pitcher with great command. He has very low impact and effortless release, and the ball bounces out of hand. ”
Sophomore Nate Trammel will join Carr, Mooneyham and Crow at the top of the Ash Grove rotation and also play first base.
“Nate has good movement on all courses. He is very smart and knows how to train. He will have a big impact this season, “said Brown.
Sophomores Elijah Morrison and John Rollhaus will both also compete for time behind the plate.
“Elijah is another player with the opportunity to play several positions. He has a quick ejaculation and a great arm. He handles the pitchers very well and communicates well with the defense, “said Brown. “John will be valuable behind the record this year. He will add a strong stick to the lineup, and has a strong arm behind the plate. ”
Senior Ethan Gray will play first base.
The field will include Thompson on the left, Crow in the center and junior Billy Hatch in the right field.
“The team’s strength is definitely our athletics. Many of our players will play multiple positions. This gives us a unique approach to developing a lineup and pitching rotation without giving up defensive strength, ”said Brown. “Our team works very hard to improve us offensively. Our success will depend on our ability to get runners at the base. ”
Ash Grove opens the season March 19-26 at the Pleasant Hope Baseball Tournament.
“This season we want to rely on senior management to keep our team focused and motivated,” said Brown. “This team shows great potential, and I know the senior team has high expectations.”