SPRING PREVIEW: Chips look to use speed, diamond experience in 2018

Manistee’s 2018 varsity baseball team. Front row, from left: Trevor Johns, Mayan Liston, Logan Buren, Austin Guenther, Evan Bauman and Trent Beaudrie. Back row, from left: Jeffrey Huber, mgr. Ethan Edmondson, Kaden Schmutzler, Brady Mikula, Andrew Jackoviak, Titus Lind, Stephen Loredo, Garrett Nemitz, mgr. Jaret Edmondson, mgr. Owen Polcyn. Not pictured: Joey Kott, Jeffrey Schwass, Raymond Schwass, Josh FItzgerald, Jayden O’Hagen and Abdiel Nuñez. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee’s 2018 varsity baseball team. Front row, from left: Trevor Johns, Mayan Liston, Logan Buren, Austin Guenther, Evan Bauman and Trent Beaudrie. Back row, from left: Jeffrey Huber, mgr. Ethan Edmondson, Kaden Schmutzler, Brady Mikula, Andrew Jackoviak, Titus Lind, Stephen Loredo, Garrett Nemitz, mgr. Jaret Edmondson, mgr. Owen Polcyn. Not pictured: Joey Kott, Jeffrey Schwass, Raymond Schwass, Josh FItzgerald, Jayden O’Hagen and Abdiel Nuñez. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Progress was slow and steady in the first year of Dave Edmondson’s tenure as Manistee’s baseball coach, and the Chippewas look to take another step forward in 2018.

Manistee took its lumps, graduating about half of its starting lineup, but those who return have significant playing time under their belts, despite their relative youth.

“We have a lot of guys coming back with a lot of experience,” Edmondson said. “There are six sophomores from last year that are now juniors, with playing time. It’s a good building block for us, and hopefully we can improve on what we did last year.”

Returning starters include Mayan Liston, Austin Guenther, Evan Bauman, Abdiel Nuñez, Jayden O’Hagen and Logan Buren. Bauman, a sophomore, emerged as the team’s pitching ace of the future, showing a baseball IQ on the mound that belied his freshman status last year.

Bauman will likely be one of the team’s top starting pitchers, but the rest of the rotation has yet to be determined.

“The guys who played on varsity last year all pitched, and know that they’re going to pitch,” Edmondson said. “We have a lot of pitchers, and with the new pitch-count (rules), everybody’s got to be a pitcher.”

Edmondson said that the whole team is stepping up from learning the game to getting more in depth.

“We are making a lot of progress,” Edmondson said. “We’re ahead of where we were last year, which is good to see. We don’t have to go through some of the basic things that we did (last year), we can look ahead. It will be fun, because we can get into more complicated things.”

Hitting a baseball is said to be the hardest thing to do in sports, and while these Chippewas will not knock the cover off the ball, they will score runs using their sheer athleticism. Look for Manistee to use its speed and aggressiveness on the basepaths to keep opponents on their heels, which will make for an exciting brand of baseball.

“We are going to celebrate ground balls to second this year,” Edmondson said. “We’re going to put guy on base, put the ball in play and see what happens. We’ll force the defense to do things quickly just because of how we’re going to run bases.”

Manistee will open the 2018 baseball season on Thursday, April 5, when it hosts Traverse City Central.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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