Strach earns first-team honors for Reed City

REED CITY — Reed City’s baseball team this season finished second in the Central State Activities Association thanks to the effort of several all-league players including first-team member Codie Strach, a senior.

Also for Reed City, Dylan Kichak and Glen Ryder were on the second team and Ricky Droke and Eric Grannis on the honorable mention list.

“I thought Codie had an excellent season on the mound this year,” said Reed City coach Scott Shankel. “I thought he got a little bit better than what he was last year. Sometimes we didn’t play the greatest behind him. In conference play, he had eight to 10 to 12 strikeouts a game. He was one of the top pitchers, in my mind, in the conference.

“Hitting-wise, he made big improvements. Last year, he had a little bit of a funk and struck out quite a few times. This year, he only had five strikeouts in conference. He made more contact. He was definitely our biggest powerhitters and had the most violent swing on our team. He was a triple threat all the way around, he can play the field, he can throw, he can hit and steal bases. He’ll be a tough one to replace. Every year, you have to move on.”

Strach had 19 stolen bases overall and 15 in CSAA play.

Kichak, Shankel noted “had an amazing year,” adding that he  batted .469 in the CSAA and led the Coyotes with 16 RBIs and “hit really well in that five hole for us. I think he only struck out three times in conference play. He had a great year where contact was a big thing for him. He added a little bit of power this year. He seemed to get big hits at big times. He’ll be tough to replace at third base. He’s one of the better infielders I’ve seen in my day.”

Ryder, Shankel said “started out a little slow this year but he really came into it. When we needed a big hit near the end of the game, he seemed to deliver. You’d want him up to bat with the game on the line. He’s very good on the field. He made big hit after big hit.”

Eric Grannis, a sophomore, “didn’t play so much on the field,” Shankel said. “Hitting-wise, he was one or our other power hitters and seemed to make contact quite a bit. He led us on runs scored or was close to it. He seemed to get on base. He had a great year for his first year on varsity.”

Droke “did well at the plate,” Shankel said. “The ball jumps off the bat when he makes contact with it. He’s very tough on the basepaths. He’ll be one of the top catchers next year. He has a strong arm back there. He’ll probably see some time on the mound next year.

Reed City was 16-19 this season.

“Overall, I thought we played better in conference,” Shankel said. “In nonconference, we have to be better focused and come ready to play. We would have liked to have made a better run in districts. We ran into a strong Pine River team.”