With a new coaching staff in place, the Pacific Post 320 Freshman American Legion baseball team opens it season this weekend.
Post 320 takes on Wentzville Sunday at home at 1 p.m. The game is scheduled to be played at the Pacific Youth Association field, but could be moved to Pacific High School.
Nathan Bruns, a 2012 Pacific High School graduate and former Indians baseball player, takes over as manager this season, replacing Cody Kelley.
Assistant coaches are Allen Bruns, Nathan’s father, and Kyle Dean, also a 2012 PHS graduate.
“Most of our team consists of players from this year’s Pacific freshman high school team. A couple of them played junior varsity and even varsity,” Nathan Bruns said. “We also have some guys from Union and St. Clair.”
Bruns will get to know his team during the early stages of the season.
“We’ve only had a couple of practices, so we’re excited to see what exactly we have. They seem like a good group of kids,” Bruns said. “I know we have a lot of young talent. We just need to get some games in and build some team chemistry.”
Bruns said to start the season, the team’s top two pitchers appear to be Austin Muich and Ryan Ray.
Muich appeared in six games in a relief role for the Pacific varsity team this season. In eight innings, he allowed five hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
“Austin and Ryan should be two of our main pitchers. I’m anxious to see what we have from there,” Bruns said. “We should have plenty of arms. I hope to have a deep pitching staff.”
Muich also figures to be one of Pacific’s top offensive threats. When not pitching, he’ll play in the outfield.
Bruns said another offensive weapon should be catcher Sam Fuchs.
Other players on the Post 320 roster are Brendan McMillan, Zack Michalski, Tyler Gerling, Reid Dauster, Tristan Longsdon, Tyler Warren, Jacob Michael, Colby Rettinghaus, Kyle Fitzgerald and Dylan Hurt.
“I like what I’ve seen from this group in the couple of practices we’ve had,” Bruns said.
Bruns expects Pacific to compete favorably in the Ninth District.
“When I played on Pacific’s Freshman Legion team, our goal was to win the district. I want this team to think the same way. We don’t want to settle for anything less,” Bruns said. “Our main goal is to get these kids experience and help the Pacific High School program, but we’d like to win games along the way. We’ll have some tough competition against teams like Washington. Hopefully we’ll be up for the challenge.”
Following Sunday’s game against Wentzville, Post 320 will take on St. Peters Thursday at 7:45 p.m. at Blanchette Park.
Pacific also will field a Junior team this summer.
Cory Cowsert is the manager of the Junior team. He’s being assisted by Tim George and Matt Strothkamp.
The Post 320 Juniors open their season Friday, May 24, at 8 p.m. against Hannibal at Elsberry.
More information on the team will appear in a future edition.