A year ago, the Whiteoak Wildcats baseball team had a lot of young inexperienced players. They finished the year at 7-17 and lost in the sectional finals to fellow Southern Hills Athletic Conference team North Adams. At the end of the season, they graduated four players, three of them starters.
This year, the Wildcats are looking forward to another season, this time with one more year experience under their belts. According to Head Coach Chris Veidt, the Wildcats are much improved over last year.
“We have been much improved over last year in our practices and scrimmages this year thus far,” Veidt said. “Our sophomores are a year older and that makes a big difference. We also have an excellent group of incoming freshman. We have two guys on the team, Kyler Marler and Jacob Burns, both seniors, who are quality players and who have ‘been there before.’ Brandon Lowe is a returning junior in his second year in the program. He has advanced his game greatly in the off season by hitting the weight room and playing both summer and fall ball.”
Coach Veidt says that his strategy for winning games this season will be the same it has always been and that this year’s pitching staff is deep and that the Wildcats offense has made vast improvements over last season.
“Our strategies are always the same,” said Veidt. “Pitching, defense, base running, bunting, and putting the ball in play. We prioritize them in that exact order as well. If you throw it over the plate, throw and catch it, and put it in play, you’ll win more often then you’ll lose.
“Our pitching is going to be deep. Jacob Burns, Chase Carraher, and Trevor Martin are most likely our top three, thus far, but I feel like we can go five or six deep if necessary.
“Offensively, we have improved tremendously offensively over last year. So far in our two scrimmages this season (Portsmouth West and Hillsboro), we have been able to put 24 runs up on the scoreboard.
“I am also very fortunate to have two of the finest Assistant Coaches in Southeastern Ohio in DJ O’Cull and John Combs. DJ has been with me 18 years and John is an ex-Wildcat player and assistant coach who has returned home. John also has Collegiate coaching experience and has coached in the Valley League which is an advanced college summer league.
“Our team goals for 2016 are 15 wins, SHAC Championship, and a Sectional Championship with the ability to advance through each level of the post season, one game at a time.”
The Wildcats will kick off their season on the road against South Webster High School with the game starting at noon.
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.