Evart eyes another championship season

Wildcat baseball team was 29-9 a year ago

Evart baseball coach Josh Johnson reviews his notes after a Thursday practice.

Evart baseball coach Josh Johnson reviews his notes after a Thursday practice.

Pioneer photo/John Raffel

EVART – Some key players have graduated from an Evart baseball team which a year ago was 29-9 and district and regional champions.

Danny Witbeck, Pierce Johnson and Reese Ransom were some key players who graduated from the team.

Key players this  year are expected to be seniors Daryin Reagan at first base and Nolan Theunick in the outfield, juniors Michael Lodholtz at pitcher, Riley Ransom at pitcher and catcher and Jake Ladd at infielder and outfielder, plus sophomore Preston Wallace at pitcher and infielder.

Veteran coach Josh Johnson said defense, team speed and experience will be strengths but the team will need to work on its pitching.

Beal City and Pine River are league favorites, Johnson said, but he’s hoping his team “will be in the hunt.”

Evart is expected to be at Farwell on Tuesday to open the season.

The Wildcats had some practice day last week during spring break. The weather was “lousy,” Johnson pointed out.

“We’ve been outside (once) in three weeks and that was at the fairgrounds,” Johnson said. “We were a little bit more outside last year at this time. Monday’s weather doesn’t look good but it does for Tuesday and Wednesday. Farwell’s field is usually in pretty good shape.”

Evart is also scheduled to  have home games on Thursday against Mancelona, Saturday against Charlevoix and April 12 against Big Rapids.

Johnson has 11 players on varsity and 14 on the junior varsity. He has some players also on the track team.

“It’s our goal every year to make sure we have a JV team,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to be one of those programs that doesn’t have one.”

A lot of players return from the regional title team, Johnson said.

“To me, that’s valuable experience,” he said. “Just because they weren’t valuable players on the field, they saw what a big game looks like and they have the hunger to get back to a big game.

“I think we’ll have a few guys who can hit pretty good. Defensively I think we’ll be solid. We have some pretty good team speed.”