First-ever Bulldog baseball team set to make history Thursday
No matter what happens on the field Thursday, Baldwin High School's first-ever baseball team will make history when the Bulldogs play their opening game of the season at Ottawa.
"Regardless if we win or lose, it will be history," said first-year coach Brian Ash. "We'll go out and give it our best shot. As long as our kids go out and compete, I'll be satisfied."
BHS's first endeavor on the baseball diamond will be against an Ottawa Cyclone team that won the Class 4A State Title a year ago. That's not a bad way to start, Ash said.
"We will be tested right from the get-go," he said. "We'll find out what we're made of right away. I think we'll go out there and be competitive and I think it will be good for as far as confidence."
As BHS's first baseball coach, Ash has taken a group of about 30 players that showed up from the start, watched closely and sifted through the talent. What he's found is a core of players who are talented and have played for years.
"We're pretty solid with 10 or 11 varsity players right now," said Ash. "We've got a lot of young kids that will play junior varsity and we will build for the future with them.
"I'm impressed with our sophomore through senior classes," he said. "You can tell they've played for years and have some talent."
As with baseball at any level, it comes down to pitching. Ash believes he's got a good group there, too.
"It's always about pitching and defense," he said. "We have some good pitchers and a pretty solid catcher. We've got four solid pitchers and a couple of others that aren't too bad either. I think we're fortunate to be that deep."
That list of pitchers includes sophomore Andrew Hannon, junior Ryne Jackson, senior Tyler Trowbridge, sophomore Grant Meisenheimer, junior Cal Heinrich and sophomore Ricky Woodbridge. Of course at this level, those pitchers also play regular positions and figure heavily into the defensive mix that Ash thinks will be a strength of the team.
"I think that up the middle is our strength," he said. "Hannon is solid at shortstop. I think the key guy for us is Trowbridge, who will play third base, second, shortstop and maybe some outfield. Heinrich is a pretty solid catcher."
Trowbridge will rotate around those positions based on who is pitching. Others who figure into the mix are Jackson at third, sophomore Brian Turk at second, senior Adam Turk and Woodbridge in center field, senior Caleb Mason and junior Anthony Myrick at first, Meisenheimer in right field and Woodbridge in left when he's not playing center field.