MOUNDRIDGE — The Moundridge High School baseball team lost four seniors from last season, but with six starters back, the Wildcats will seek improvement.
Moundridge is coached by Lynn Eichelberger, in his 13th season. He is 124-132 with the Wildcats. He is assisted by Aaron Begnoche.
Moundridge was 10-9 last season, 6-5 in Heart of America League play. Moundridge lost in the Class 2-1A regional quarterfinals to Salina Sacred Heart.
Returning starters include seniors Dylan Sugars (2B-P), Anthony Otte (C) and Caleb Frye (1B-P); and juniors Noah Eichelberger (OF), Bryant Olson (DH) and Chris Leddy (P).
Noah Eichelberger was a first-team All-HOAL outfielder and second-team Class 2A all-state pick. Otte was an honorable mention All-HOAL pick at catcher.
Other returning letterwinners are senior Brandon Porter (IF) and juniors Luke Ratzlaff (1B-OF), Peyton Fast (IF) and Josh Knight (utility).
Looking to move up from the junior varsity are juniors Hunter Emerson (OF) and Jaeden Dalke (IF); and sophomores Remington Creed (1B-P), Trevor Kohl (IF) and Nathan Ginder (OF).
Newcomers include senior Ethan Rice (utility); sophomore Lantonio Unruh (P-IF); and freshmen Brady Helms (P-IF), Collin Kohl (C-IF) and Cross Lintecum (IF-P).
“Losing Trenton Olson, Kyle Stucky, Colton Stucky and Nick Leddy to graduation creates some holes in our team,” Lynn Eichelberger said. “We need to find some inexperienced players to fill their shoes. We had a good summer last year making the Senior Babe Ruth State Tournament competing against Liberal, Abilene and Wellington. Playing that competition made us a better team.”
The Wildcat coach said Sugars, Leddy, Frye and Knight will anchor the pitching staff.
“All those pitchers pitched well this summer, so I hope they can build on those outings,” Lynn Eichelberger said. “With the new pitch count guidelines handed down from KSHSAA, we will need to get all hands on deck for pitching. My new theory is everyone is a pitcher until they prove they are not a pitcher. It will make for some interesting games I think at the small school level.”
The schedule for the Wildcats include Remington, which will play a full HOAL schedule this season, and Cheney. The Broncos are the defending Class 3A state runner-up. Cheney also is a Class 3A state qualifier.
Other league opponents include Ell-Saline, Marion, Inman (twice) and Sedgwick. Non-league foes include traditional rivals Canton-Galva and Little River.
“Our oppononets this year changed a little bit as Douglass and Chase County are no longer on the schedule and we added Cheney and another game with Inman,” Lynn Eichelberger said. “Remington, Marion and Sedgwick are always tough 3A teams to play and Cheney made the 3A state tournament last year as well.
“Our numbers are at about twenty players this year so my assistant, Coach Aaron Begnoche is going to be busy with a lot of JV games scheduled. He is a vital part of our team success.”
March 31 @ Ell-Saline 3 p.m.
April 4 @ Marion 4:30 p.m.
April 11 Remington 4 p.m.
April 13 @ Inman 3 p.m.
April 18 @ Canton-Galva 4:30 p.m.
April 21 Sedgwick 4 p.m.
April 25 @ Bennington 3 p.m.
April 28 Inman 4 p.m.
May 2 Little River 4 p.m.
May 5 @ Cheney 4 p.m.
May 15-18 Regionals TBA
May 25-26 State @ Great Bend Sports Complex