Lohafer brings history of success to BLHS baseball
Basehor-Linwood baseball begins a new era this season as Brian Lohafer takes over the program.
He replaces David Svoboda who coached the team since 2004.
“Taking over in only my second year here at BLHS for Dave Svoboda, who had established a great tradition here at Basehor-Linwood, is a great challenge,” Lohafer said. “I think the kids have responded well to my different style of coaching, and our young coaching staff has gotten them excited about the upcoming season.”
Lohafer brings experience to the dugout, having been the head coach at Maryville (Mo.) High School for 20 years and was an assistant coach for 10 years prior to that. In his time coaching at the school, Maryville won a state championship and several conference and district championships.
In his first year with the Bobcats, he has set basic goals.
“Our team goals are pretty simple; win as many games as possible; do whatever it takes to get the job done and be of good character in and out of the classroom,” he said in an e-mail.
Most of the early season practices have been spent in the gymnasium, though the team has taken some infield and outfield on the turf football field.
While limited practice time, Lohafer said he has been pleased with the team’s pitching.
“Our pitching seems to be one of our strengths right now,” he said. “Coach Matt Lackner has worked very hard with our pitchers to get them ready. We have been working hard on defense and taking a lot of ground balls at each position. Our hitting has got to come around with a better placement of the ball and understanding of pitch counts.”
Basehor-Linwood will look for solid production from seven seniors. Jarred Patton will pitch and play catcher; Destry Bryan can pitch and is one of the Bobcats’ top outfielders; Austin Stubbs plays first base; Nathan Quigley will be shortstop; Jayce Rymer is an experienced catcher, outfielder and pitcher; Brett Bailles will play second base; and newcomer Nick Rhodes will pitch and play third base.
Patton, Bryan, Quigley and Stubbs are three-year starters and considered strengths on defense.
Patton, Quigley and Rhodes have provided a lot of vocal leadership this season. Bryan, Stubbs, Bailes and Rymer have done a nice job of leading by example, Lohafer said.
The team also has a cast of juniors who could see playing time in Skylar Barnes, Tyler Ogden and Garret Kahle.
In addition, sophomores Tanner Garver (shortstop and outfield), Joe Merino (second base), Zac Hevel (infield and pitcher), Seagar Smith (first base) and Drew Potter (outfield) have played well in practice.
The new players are replacing a group of seniors from last season that included Ryan Lawless, Tyler Henley, Brandon Leppke, Jeff Johnson, Tim Stephens and Dylan Belt.