For a young pitcher there’s nothing better to know you can count on your defense for back-up if you’re not exactly throwing fireballs down the middle of the plate. And for the Prescott High School Baseball Team it’s the best possible situation to be in for the 2016 season.
“We have eight kids who can throw strikes and we’re going to need every one of them,” PHS Head Coach Jeff Ryan said, “But they’re not the kind of pitcher who are going to get you 12-14 outs a game by themselves. But we don’t need them to be. So long as that pitcher knows the defense will back him and make the plays to get the outs he can just throw and not feel the pressure to pitch strikes or try too hard to strike out batters and lose control.”
With that in mind Ryan said he was very pleased with the way his young pitchers, particularly returning lettermen like senior Elliot Deutsch and junior Dan Knopf performed in a recent scrimmage against Park High School of Cottage Grove, Minn. Other PHS hurlers include junior lettermen Nick Simon and Luke Murphy.
“You have to trust your defense,” Ryan said. “We smart enough to know if we make the catches and play good smart defense we’ll be in every ballgame we play this season with a chance to win. That’s something we always hung our hat on. It’s our reputation and it’s our expectation and especially helps the greenhorn team we will put on the field to start with.”
Indeed the Cardinals will be very green to begin with. Gone are All-Middle Border Conference players such as Mike and Charlie Brookshaw, Clay Seifert, and Paul Hansen. Sophomore Peter Brookshaw was the only PHS underclassmen to make all-conference as a utility player. Prescott also lost seniors like Justin Lynner, a three-year starter at catcher, Mason Syverson, Evan Bayer and Sam Hoopingarner from last season’s 21-4 ballclub which finished second to Ellsworth in the MBC at 12-2 but beat the Panthers in Ellsworth for the regional title.
Other lettermen returning for Prescott are seniors Jake Syverson, Mike Harris and Jesse Sommer and junior Zach Dolan. Tentatively the Cards will have Brookshaw at shortstop, Dolan at third, Murphy at second, Syverson catching, Harris going from the outfield to first base and in the outfield Simon, Sommer, Knopf, Isaiah Rosenow and Bo Smith.
See more of this preview in the Prescott Journal, on newsstands now.