REED CITY — Austin Hansen realizes that as a catcher, he needs to get the job done in a special way for the Reed City Coyote baseball team this season.

This marks his second year of varsity baseball. He’s been in the sport since he was 10 years old. He played football in the fall for the three-time Central State Activities Association (CSAA) championship Coyote team.

He’s not in a winter sport and Hansen was able to get in some off-season hitting. Hansen has been a catcher for all of his baseball career.

“It’s something that I’ve played,” he said. “I just fell into it.”

Hansen is confident he’s improved every season as a catcher. His strengths have included “my throwdowns to second and my blocking. On bad pitches, I’ve gotten better on blocking,” Hansen said.

Coaches usually call the pitches “but they usually give me a little leeway,” said Hansen, who has a new coach in Marty Shaffer this season and isn’t sure yet how the pitch call process will work this spring.

Hansen was happy the way he hit the ball last season, hitting slightly above .300.

“This year, I hope to do the same,” he said. “You have to watch it out of the pitcher’s hand. Keep an eye on it all the way in.”

Hansen is anxious to see how the pitching staff will develop.

“We really need everyone to step up,” he said. “We really don’t have a whole lot of pitchers. All of them were seniors last year except one or two. We’re going to be young on the mound.”

The Coyotes’ first scheduled game is April 17 at home with Pine River.

“Our team’s potential is quite high,” Hansen said. “Once we fill our pitcher positions, I feel we could have a lot of potential. We’ll definitely be a speed team. Once we get our pitching filled, everything will fall into place.”

Hansen expects Chippewa Hills to be among the CSAA favorites but is hopeful the Coyotes can also be in the mix.