Droke, Willis set to lead Reed City baseball attack

REED CITY — Seniors Ricky Droke and Ryan Willis are anxious to get outside this week and see what their Reed City baseball team has got.

The Coyotes were scheduled to play at Morley Stanwood Tuesday and were slated to play at Pine River Thursday.

A home doubleheader Friday with Big Rapids was postponed until a date that hasn’t yet been announced.

Droke came to the varsity halfway through his senior season.

“We won districts my sophomore year and that was good,“ Droke said. “We went to regional finals and lost. But we still had a good season.”

Last season, the Coyotes lost to Pine River in the first round of the districts. Otherwise, the Coyotes may have been able to advance far in the districts, Droke indicated.

Droke will be catcher again.

”I like throwing it down to second,” he said. “I like throwing people out.”

At the plate, Droke is looking to bat at least .350. and said he needs to be more patient at the plate.

“We’re young, but it will be hard for the first couple of games and it will get better as it goes,” he said, while admitting that having spent a little time outdoors in the preseason won’t be a helpful factor.

Droke expects Chippewa Hills to be among the best teams in the CSAA.

Willis is in his second full varsity season.

“During basketball, we came in every Sunday and were doing some hitting,” Willis said. “A lot of guys showed up to that.”

Willis will be pitching along with playing some shortstop, first baseball and second base.

He enjoys being a part of the double play.

Last season, “I started out strong pitching-wise,” he said. “I thought I had a pretty good year pitching. Codie (Strach) helped me out a lot.”

Fastball and his control will be a strength, Willis indicated. He’s looking to get more first-pitch strikes and keep the ball down low enough so batters will have problems with it.”

Willis said he struggled at the plate last season.

“Then I got hot at the middle,” he said. “I just want to get some runners in. I’ve worked on my swing.”

Willis agreed with Droke that being inside too much won’t be a helpful factor.

“You can’t do any of the cuts and hit flyballs to outfielders and face live pitching,” Willis said. “When the young kids get to some games under their belts, we can be good. We have a lot potential. We have to go get it.”

Chippewa Hills should be a top league team Willis indicated, along with perhaps Morley Stanwood and Newaygo.