Coyotes baseball coach confident as season starts

REED CITY — Reed City’s baseball team has improved its win total in each of coach Marty Shaffer’s first three seasons.

The Coyotes are obviously hoping that will be the case again this spring.

Practices started on March 13 and the Coyotes are in their second week of workouts. The schedule has them at Evart for a Wednesday doubleheader, weather-permitting. There were tryouts the first few days.

Reed City has 14 on varsity and 13 on the junior varsity roster.

“Those are the best numbers we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Shaffer said.

He also had a chance to work with some players during the offseason.

“We’ve had quite a few to work with, we’re able to work with four guys at a time,” Shaffer said. “We probably had a good six to seven guys who came in consistently at scheduled times.”

Spring break goes through next week and the Coyotes return for a practice on April 2.

Leading the returnees is senior Logan Straub who is in his fourth season on the varsity.

“He’ll be one of our top pitchers and bat in the middle of the order,” Shaffer said. “He’s been around the program since I’ve been here. He’s a strong, big kid.”

Senior Cameron Austin plays first and third base and bats in the middle of the order.

“He’s a good hitter and a good leader,” Shaffer said. “He wants to finish strong.”

Senior Derrick Rasor will be a center fielder.

“He covers a lot of ground, works hard and is a good kid,” Shaffer said. “He sustained a concussion from wrestling, but has been in there as much as he can and is ready to go.”

Junior Hunter Morrison will be a pitcher and bat leadoff. He batted  better than .400 last season and junior catcher Jeffrey Phenix, “is a very good defensive catcher,” Shaffer said.

Junior Simon Moreno is up from the junior varsity and is expected to contribute extensively to the Coyote attack. Sophomore Cody Kailing will be a lefthanded pitcher.

“My first year we had eight wins, the second year it was 12 and last year we had 15,” Shaffer said. “Last year, we lost to Mason County Central in our district game and they wound up going on to the state semifinals. We only gave up one run. We’re bringing back everyone who played in that game, except for one player.

“We have high expectations. We have a good group of kids. They’ve all worked hard. This is my fourth year in the program and we’ve got the groundwork laid. We’ll try to be our best at the end of the year. We have some goals in mind.”