Tuesday, March 14, 2017

North Nodaway Seeks Spark from Young Players

North Nodaway’s baseball team will be looking for a spark from its younger players as well as some of its returning players. They have 13 players out this year who have been doing as many repetitions as possible under coaches Jake Shipman and Cody Marriott. Marriott said that teams to watch for this year include North Andrew and North Harrison; the Cardinals started a new baseball program this year under former Worth Countyian Todd Simmons; North Harrison started a new baseball program last year and beat North Nodaway following the dismantling of boys softball. North Andrew has been dominant in football and basketball, so coaches are naturally wary about their new baseball team.

Peyton Coleman, Arron Coleman, and Dakota Smyser will be counted on to pitch for North Nodaway this year; they have been breaking in Dalton Smyser and Drexel Richardson as well in that position. Dakota has taken on a much bigger leadership role this year, helping everyone else out during batting practice. Will coaching be in his future? “That’s what everyone tells me,” he said.

The Mustangs lose Daytona Lutz, who graduated early to enter the Marines. That means they will need to find a catcher. A freshman, Tyler Bix, may step into that role. He was handling all the catching chores last Wednesday, going through some reaction drills with Marriott and catching the pitchers.

The Mustangs will have a lot of holes to fill from a team that was district runner-up last year. One player who may step up big this year is Logan Keho, who was hitting everything close to the plate all the way to the wall. Dalton Smyser started getting some solid contact after being coached not to turn his head while swinging. Garrett Torres also got some solid hits. They will join big guns such as Peyton Coleman, Dakota Smyser, and Arron Coleman at the plate.

Mikayla Cross is a person of many talents; she does softball, quilting, and now baseball. She said the biggest change from softball to baseball was the heavier bats; she said the smallest one was 30 ounces. In softball, most of the bats are 20 ounces. “That will make me stronger; that’s my goal,” she said. She is following in the footsteps of Northeast Nodaway’s Jill Spire, who secured a starting spot on Vance Proffitt’s squad, played errorless ball at second base, and got a critical hit to secure Northeast’s third straight conference title. “The other players have accepted her and are showing her the ropes,” said Marriott. Cross also has the support of her softball coach. “If anyone can do it, she can,” said David Carroll, her softball coach. She will compete for a spot on the infield and had a couple of solid cracks in batting practice last Wednesday. Peyton Coleman and Arron Coleman will likely play somewhere on the infield.

When not pitching, Dakota Smyser will play somewhere in the outfield. Also playing could be Austin Bird, who showed a rocket launcher for an arm in practice. He doesn’t know his own strength, but he was throwing the ball farther than anyone else.

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