Evart manager reflects on baseball season

Donavin Reagan and the Evart Wildcats enjoyed a 30-win season.

EVART — The high school baseball season ended Saturday at the state final at Michigan State.

But it was a memorable one for the Evart Wildcats.

“It was a great season,” Evart coach Josh Johnson said. “We were conference champs for the first time since 1996. We were district champs for the first time since 2008. I’m not sure if this program has ever had a 30-win season. It’s the most wins during my tenure. We met our team goals. The conference and district (titles) were certainly the highlights of our season.

“We lost a heartbreaker in the regional final.”

The season ended on June 8 with the loss to Beaverton 3-2 in eight innings.

“My seniors will be greatly missed,” Johnson said. “Garrett Johnson (catcher) caught 36 of 37 games for us this year. He was a workhorse behind the plate. Billy Conklin (third baseman) plans to play baseball at Delta. He has been our gritty-offensive MVP all season. His offensive stats will be missed. Carter Pritchard (center fielder) came on strong offensively for us this year. He is a natural leader.

“Pritchard, Johnson and Conklin combined to drive in over 90 runs for us this year. Their offensive power will be tough to replace. Troy Lodholtz, who has persevered like no athlete I’ve ever coached, will be missed. He is a great pitcher. Christian Booher will be missed the most. His compassion for the game and his teammates are something that make him truly one of the greatest kids I’ve ever coached.”

Johnson is looking forward to 2020.

“We will be returning some key guys,” he said. “Danny Witbeck, Justin O’Dell, and Henry are some key pitchers. Reese Ransom and Nate Sochocki will most likely share the catching duties. My infield will be largely the same with key guys such as Ty Sochocki, Pierce Johnson and Donavin Reagan returning.

“Some other guys that I’m excited to get more reps from are Sebastian Calderon and Nolen Rohen. They both spent the majority of the season with the JV team, but were more than capable of contributing to the varsity this season. I really commend them for their efforts. I believe that with the success our program had this year, the guys will start next season hungry. They are already asking me about summer ball. We look to be very competitive again next season.”

 

 

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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