Baseball looks to build on last year’s success
The loss of several all-league infielders and his No. 1 ace in the pitching rotation has not deterred De Soto baseball coach Joel Thaemert.
Thaemert is still optimistic that his returners are more than capable of filling the seven-man void that resulted from last year’s graduating class.
“It was a really special class,” Thaemert said. “We had a lot of talented seniors. But we’re pretty confident in the guys we have returning and the new players.”
Among those who graduated is Eric Hill, who provided the offensive spark for the Wildcats last year.
“Eric led the team in RBI’s and home runs last year,” Thaemert said. “We’re losing a big bat in the middle of the lineup.”
The team also lost two players who batted over .300 in Travis Crow and Eric Buffkin.
Nevertheless, the Wildcats are poised to build on last year’s success as they return two time-tested pitchers to this year’s rotation. Tommy Elmer and Paul Oswald both saw significant time on the mound last year and are looking to make similar contributions in 2009.
“Tommy Elmer and Paul Oswald were solid contributors last season,” Thaemert said. “It’s good to have them back. We also have several juniors that will step up this year.”
Chief among those juniors might be Daniel Peterson, who Thaemert said pitched a load of innings as a sophomore.
"Daniel had seven shutout innings in our regional game last year against Spring Hill,” he said. “We ended up losing the game, 1-0, but he pitched really well.”
Peterson, along with the rest of the Wildcats, started throwing last week but weather caused the team to practice indoors and out of the elements to open spring practice.
“It’s kind of tough to tell how the team will be because the weather hasn’t let us be outside much,” Thaemert said. “We haven’t been able to have any team defense yet. But I can already tell we can be competitive. We have a good nucleus of returning players.”
If the Wildcats play to their potential, Thaemert believes they can make a solid run through league play and reach the postseason.