New Haven’s baseball Shamrocks have a new leader this spring.
Aaron Peirick, who also coaches the New Haven boys basketball Shamrocks, succeeds Andrew Reidt as New Haven’s head coach.
“I’m looking forward to taking the reins and being the guy in charge of the team for the first time,” Peirick said. “Being a head baseball coach is a new challenge for me and a chance to learn some new things.”
Now, Peirick a New Haven graduate, is in a holding pattern to see if there will be a season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the Shamrocks play, solid players from last year’s 2-14 team return.
“We have a good group of kids who are willing to be coached and work hard and I think that will help,” Peirick said. “I have been an assistant for the last two years and was fortunate to learn from the head coaches I have worked under. I was also fortunate to play for good coaches during my high school career and learned plenty from them.”
Peirick is being assisted by Rob Rohlfing.
New Haven went 2-14 last season and has 18 players on this year’s team. Three are returning starters.
Coming back this spring are August Panhorst, Matthew Laune and Owen Borcherding. Panhorst is a third baseman. Laune pitches and Borcherding is an outfielder.
Panhorst hit .258 last season with six doubles, two triples, five runs and five RBIs.
Laune went 1-1 with a 5.36 ERA over 15.2 innings. He started three games and completed one. Laune likely will play first base when not pitching.
Borcherding was a .222 hitter with four runs and six RBIs. Peirick said it’s likely he will pitch as well.
“Owen has played the outfield for us for two years now but I think he could make an impact for us on the mound this year,” Peirick said.
Behind the plate, Nolen Brown has the edge. Jacob Engelbrecht and Matthew Otten are favorites to start at second base and shortstop, respectively.
A trio of sophomores are pushing for playing time in the outfield. Brayden Lensing, Mitchell Meyer and Will Hellman are working to join Borcherding there.
New Haven’s wins last season were March 21 against Grandview and April 9 against Calvary Lutheran.
“We would like to win more games than last year,” Peirick said. “We want to be competitive in every game. We would like to drastically reduce the number of strikeouts, especially strikeouts looking.”
Peirick said staying mentally sharp throughout each game is a key to making that happen.
“I think we learned how thin the line is between winning and losing,” Peirick said. “We learned you can’t make mistakes and expect to win games.”
He sees Hermann and Union, as being the top squads this season.
“Hermann and Union won the conference last year and I think both bring back a bunch of guys,” Peirick said. “The rest of the conference is always tough as well. I think the conference could be pretty wide open and anyone could beat anyone any afternoon.”