Archive for Thursday, March 31, 2005

LHS baseball reloads quickly

March 31, 2005

The Lansing High baseball team dominated throughout the 2004 season as it rolled to a 19-4 overall record and 13-3 mark in Kaw Valley League play.

The Lions are hoping to make a repeat performance this spring, but they'll have to do it with a largely different cast because only three starters return from last year's squad. So much player turnover could cause a team to panic, but that's not the case at LHS.

"I think we won't have any problems, especially with our hitting, and our defense is pretty good," said senior first baseman Curtis Burgoon. "Last year most of the guys played Cavalry over the summer, and we did pretty good. We played some top-notch triple-A teams, so I don't think we'll have any problems."

The summer league experience with the Lansing Cavalry may have made the transition a bit smoother, but second-year coach Terry Stueve said they still have plenty of work to do.

"We're working out a few kinks," he said. "A lot of these seniors played summer ball with us, so they've played together a lot. We're going to be all right, I think. We're going to be competitive."

The most encouraging thing Stueve has seen so far during preseason workouts has been the Lions' hitting. He has three solid hitters returning in Burgoon (.302 average, two home runs last year), Chris Wagner (.352 avg.) and Cody Mohan (.317 avg.), and he expected the new guys to be successful at putting the ball in play as well. So far they haven't disappointed him.

"Coming in, we had some question marks about who was going to hit where in the lineup, but that kind of took care of itself tonight," Stueve said after a scrimmage Monday night between the Lansing varsity and junior varsity teams.

Stueve hasn't finalized a lineup yet, but one guy who appears to have locked up a spot for himself is newcomer Jeff Terrill. He filled a variety of roles in the field during the scrimmage, but he stood out the most at the plate as he rocketed a double into the gap and blasted a triple to deep center field.

"That was one guy that really tore it up today," Stueve said. "We're debating is he going to play second base, is he going to play outfield, where is he going to hit? He pretty much took care of that tonight. We've got to find a spot for him."

Stueve said he isn't pleased with where his squad's pitching is at yet, but noted that that tends to be the case for most teams early in the season.

"We're not happy yet, but it's still early," he said. "We'll have another week to get ready and fine-tune things."

The Lions' season-opener was slated for 4 p.m. today at Atchison, but that game has been rescheduled for May 6 because Atchison isn't finished with construction on its field. The junior varsity game will be played as scheduled at 4 p.m. today at LHS.

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