St. Clair baseball has starters returning at every position on the field this spring save one.
The team brings back eight starters from a 7-12 season in 2019. Mitch Lundy continues to serve as the team’s head coach, assisted by Jeff Thornsberry and Derek Morgan.
“I am extremely excited for this upcoming year,” Lundy said. “We have a lot of returners from last year’s team and even though our record wasn’t what we had hoped, we gained a lot of experience last year. We have a bunch of good kids who are eager to play some baseball and we can’t wait to get the season going.”
However, the team had to halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of press time, no timetable for resumption had been given.
A total of 25 players came out for the spring season and no cuts were made.
Of the returning starters, two are seniors — pitcher and shortstop Dalton Thompson and center fielder Johnny Kindel.
Thompson batted .347 a year ago with two doubles, a home run and six runs batted in. On the mound, he compiled a 1-3 record and a 4.25 earned run average in 26.1 innings pitched, striking out a team high 24 batters.
Kindel was a .333 hitter with one double and six RBIs.
St. Clair brings back six juniors who started last season — Blaine Downey, Sam Oermann, Chase Walters, Wes Hinson and Landen Roberts.
Roberts, the team’s backstop, was also the Bulldog’s leading batter last season with team highs in batting average (.404) and hits (23) and stolen bases (seven). Roberts slugged six doubles and drove in seven runs.
Oermann hurled more innings than any St. Clair pitcher save Thompson last season and led the team with a 1.91 ERA. Oermann went 1-3 on the season with 22 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched.
Hinson and Walters will handle the corner infield positions with Hinson, the team’s lefty, at first base.
Oermann and Downey fill utility roles in the field and Venable joins Kindel in the outfield.
Thompson and Oermann will share time on the bump with Downey and Hinson.
The team adds a pair of senior newcomers in first baseman / pitcher Derek Fitzgerald and outfielder Dayton Turner.
Junior Brady Simpson also figures to be added into the varsity mix this spring.
“Right field is a position that needs to be filled and the top candidates right now are Brady Simpson and Dayton Turner,” Lundy said. “They are both kids who work really hard and have a lot of talent. Second base is our other position and Sam Oermann and Blaine Downey will both get significant time there.”
Turner is coming off standout seasons in football and basketball where he was a second-team all-conference defensive back and a first-team all-conference point guard.
“We have to come out ready and focused every single day,” Lundy said. “If we can do that we are going to have a lot of fun.”
The Bulldogs went 3-4 in the Four Rivers Conference last spring, tying for sixth.
“Our whole conference this year is going to be tough,” Lundy said. “There will not be an easy team to play. I look forward to competing against every team this year. There is a lot of good baseball right now and we have to be focused and ready each and every day if we want to compete.”