Evart baseball team finishes first season under new coach

EVART — It was a challenging season for first-year Evart baseball coach Josh Johnson.

The Wildcats, like other teams, had to battle poor weather in the preseason and half of the regular season. They had a final record of 9-19. But one highlight was a 4-0 victory over Central Montcalm in the district semifinals.

Evart will be graduating four seniors. Johnson had to work around not having a JV team for lack of numbers. But he was able to get in a lot of experience for his younger players.

“I think we’re looking good for years to come,” he said. “Those kids got a lot of playing time. We have a lot of good young baseball players coming from our youth program. I’m pretty optimistic. I really like the freshmen. Andrew Race will be a huge loss.”

Race, a senior, was the top pitcher for the Wildcats and one of the top hurlers in the area. Other pitchers the Wildcats will lose include Tom Hyde, Jared Pattee and Tre Dyer. But they also have players like Nolan VanOrder and Adam Zinger returning.

Johnson doesn’t plan on being inactive with baseball during the summer. This week, he was scheduled to start a lot of games Monday and Wednesday.

“We played Farwell, Manton, Reed City and Pine River,” he said. “We play each of them twice.”

This week Evart was scheduled to play at Farwell Monday and will be home Wednesday against Manton. Action starts at 6 p.m. each night.

“We’ll decide at game time whether we do one nine-inning game or two five-inning games,” Johnson said.