Reed City baseball team hopes to be a factor in CSAA Gold Division

REED CITY — Reed City won’t be playing a baseball game until after spring break in April, but coach Marty Shaffer has been having his players busy during practices to get ready for the first week of action.

He anticipates 15 players on his roster.

“We have some low numbers in the lower classes, but we do have a JV team now,” Shaffer said. “We’re hoping we can get some more kids to come out, but it’s looking kind of bleak.”

Junior Logan Straub is among the returning players and is in his third varsity season.

“He’s probably going to be our top pitcher, in his third year on varsity, and will bat somewhere in the middle of the lineup, No. 3 or 4 spot,” Shaffer said. “He’s our leader, probably our best athlete. He has good size and loves the game, so it’s helpful there.”

Sophomore Hunter Morrison will be in his second varsity year as a pitcher and shortstop. “He’s put on some weight and is a little bigger from last year,” Shaffer said. “He’ll probably bat leadoff for us. He’s been working all winter long to get better in every aspect of the game. He has put in a lot of time.”

Jeffery Phenix, another sophomore, came up to varsity halfway through last season and batted better than .300. He will probably be the starting catcher and bat No. 2 or 3.

“He did a lot of baseball workouts over the winter,” Shaffer said. “He’s gotten better from last year.”

Senior Gabe Miller will be captain and has improved on his hitting and fielding while playing third base.

Senior Quinton Kichak will be an outfielder. “He’s a smart player with a good arm,” Shaffer said. “He’ll be a good leader. He’s also a captain this year. He’s probably the most athletic kid on the team. He has good footwork on the basepaths.”

Another senior is Leland Yonkin, the No. 2 starter at pitcher. “He has a good bat,” Shaffer said. “He probably throws as hard as anyone we have. He’s been working on his control. Hopefully he can produce on the mound and be a good leader as a senior.”

Junior Derrick Rasor also has some varsity experience as a utility player.

“We don’t have many newcomers,” Shaffer said. “We were really young last year.”

The Coyotes open the season April 11 at Cadillac and have home games April 12 with Evart and April 15 against Tri County in the Central State Activities Association Gold Division opener.

“We’re still pretty young,” Shaffer said. “We have a lot of experience playing together. We’ll be good at hitting. We’ll hit the ball a lot. Our pitchers will probably make or break us. Either we will do good with pitching or we will struggle. We have only probably four guys who will be our pitchers. It depends on what they do with their health and arm strength. We need to limit their pitches during games. Our offense will have to carry us.”