MHS baseball team looking to turn the corner

Sports reporter

Last season was a tough one for the Marion High School baseball team, but it doesn't matter anymore.

In his third year as head coach of the Warriors, Shaun Craft feels his bunch is ready to compete.

With 20 players on the team, he will have enough to field full varsity and junior varsity squads.

"All the players will get an opportunity to play a lot of ball this spring," Craft said.

That should help the younger players in the future, but right now Craft is concerned with the current bunch, which includes three seniors in the lineup.

Zan Fine and Calvin Jeffrey will anchor the left side of the infield at third and shortstop, and Chase Carlson, playing at the high school level for the first time in two years, will play second base along with sophomore Colton Olsen.

Sophomores Brian Fruechting and Marshall Ragland will split time at first.

Craft likes the way his infield is shaping up, especially the left side.

"Zan and Calvin give us sure gloves and two years of experience on the left side," Craft said. "I look for those two seniors to really lead us this year and to leave the program on a really high note."

Craft praised Olson for his hard work ethic and off-season weight training.

Carlson is starting to feel more comfortable after his layoff, and the coach likes the battle the two are having for the right to play second base.

Fruechting will be playing first base when not pitching.

Ragland will be on first when Fruechting has the ball.

"I expect Marshall to step in there and not miss a beat," Craft said.

He also said freshman Mitch Cady may get some looks there as well.

The outfield will include veterans Wil Case in left, Isaac Hett in center, and Adam Maag in right.

The catcher position has been a three-way battle between Olson, senior Logan Richmond, and freshman Matt Sprowls.

Overall, despite the weather and spring break throwing a kink into practices, Craft likes what he has seen.

"I have been pleased with everyone with the way we have been hitting the ball so far in drills," he said.

On the pitching side of things, Craft looks for Fruechting to lead the way on the mound.

"He has great mechanics and has continued this off-season on all aspects of pitching," Craft said.

Jeffrey, Fine, Case, and Ragland will see time on the hill as well.

Craft said freshman Corey Seacat could work his way into the lineup.

With just one victory a year ago Craft expects this team, which is much more experienced than last year, to easily improve.

They will be competing in 3A in the post-season instead of 4A as in year's past because of the affiliation with Peabody-Burns High School.

"We, as a team, have high expectations for this season," he said. "I expect to compete at a high level in the league this season and make a run in the 3A regionals."

That won't be easy to do while playing in the Mid-Central Activities Association as the powerhouse league continually has teams competing for 3A and 4A state championships.

Still, Craft is optimistic this is the time for the Warriors.

"I believe if we continue to work hard and play together as team we will start turning the corner this season and get the program headed in the right direction," he said.