BEAVERTON – What if? Many teams and athletes will look back on this year and think, this could have been our year. Beaverton Baseball is one of those teams. They have been knocking on the door for two years. Was this going to be the year they made the trip to McLane Stadium in East Lansing for the Final Four? It looks like we will never know.
The Beavers were returning a loaded team this year. Four starters from last year; Drew Grove multiple positions, Jack Owens catcher, Logan Gerow first base, and Nathan Longstreth leadoff hitter and second base will be hard to replace, but this years group looked capable. “We were expecting to be able to compete with everybody we played,” said Coach Scott Wicke. “We wanted to keep up with what we had done last year and expand on it.” He went on to say, “We had things fall perfectly last year and got the big plays and clutch hits that won games for us.”
The Beavers are used to playing in big games. They battled through a tough district, which had four rated teams and also won their regional before bowing out one game short of the final four last season. Most of the guys on the team are also on the football team, which has won its share of big games over the last two years. No moment would have been too big for this Beaver team.
Leading the returning regulars for Beaverton were seniors Jarrett Inscho, David Krohn and Lucas Schweinsberg. Inscho would have done a lot of the pitching and could have played anywhere on the infield. Wicke mentioned that he even offered to catch. “Jarrett has great presence on the mound,” said Wicke. “He is a bulldog, he looks at every pitch as a one-on-one battle with the batter. He just outcompetes people and will do anything to make the team better.”
Schweinsberg came on strong late in the season after he recovered from an early season injury. He would also play multiple positions. Pitching, catching, third base and outfield are all possibilities. He also has a good bat. He came up with several clutch hits last season. Krohn will spend a lot of time in centerfield, along with doing some pitching. He is capable of “picking up” some of the innings left behind due to the graduation of Grove and Longstreth. He will be the only left-hander on the staff. Wicke also mentioned that he is a good “contact hitter.”
The graduation of Owens leaves a void at the catching spot. He caught most of the time last season and had the complete confidence of the Beaverton pitchers.
With only four practices it was to early to tell if someone was going to be able to step up and take over the job. At this point Wicke is not sure if someone will grab the spot or if it will be “catcher by committee.” Several players will be competing for the position including Cody Schertz and Michael Hartwell. Both have worked very hard during the offseason in hopes of taking over. Schertz played on the varsity team last year while Hartwell did most of the catching on the junior varsity.
Trent Reed returns at shortstop and will be expected to do more pitching this season. “He threw the ball really well at the end of last season and has thrown really hard this year,” added Wicke. He can also catch and may do some this year depending on the situation.” Carson Oldani was brought up last year primarily as an outfielder, but was able to “eat up” a lot of innings on the mound. He was a pleasant surprise and was going get the opportunity to pitch more and play on the infield this season.
Braydee Keeley and Hartwell were both brought up for the state tournament last season. Besides competing for the catching position, Hartwell can play second base and in the outfield. He was to get the opportunity to compete for several positions. Keeley played first base on the junior varsity team last season and did a “good job.” Wicke mentioned that he was going to be competing for the spot vacated by Logan Gerow. Chris Schertz played mostly in the outfield last season. He and brother Cody also did a lot of courtesy running last season.
At this point it looks like there is no way the spring season can be saved. The Michigan High School Athletic Association had shown the willingness to play if possible, but which schools cancelled and locked up for the rest of the school year there is no way to safely get it done. A sport like baseball has the added concern that goes along with pitching. No longer pitchers are idle the more time they would need to get back in shape. It looks like we are out of time.
One of the best things about sports is our ability to talk about games and seasons for years. With the cancellations it looks like that conversation will have to revolve around, What If?