Baseball team hopes to find success from young players and experienced leaders There are a lot of changes happening for the Malone baseball team this season. After graduating 12 seniors last year, the team recruited 14 young and talented freshmen for the 2017 baseball season. Some may look at this and be worried, but head coach Tom Crank looks at it differently. “We have great senior leadership. We’re looking for a lot from those guys to help lead our younger players. We are inexperienced and unproven in some spots, but we’re a team full of talented and smart baseball players who know the game,” said Crank. Among the leaders are seniors Keanan Locke, Ryan Sarbaugh, Jordan Knight, Gunnar Smeyres and Brenden Wells, who have all proven themselves to be top players. While the freshmen may be young, they are undoubtedly talented. Pitcher Eric Mullet led Hiland High School to an OHSAA Division III State Championship during his senior season in 2016. Mullet went 10-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA with 98 strikeouts and only 16 walks across 61.2 innings pitched. He was named the Inter-Valley Conference Player of the Year, First Team All-District, First Team All-Ohio and Division III Player of the Year. Another freshman pitcher, Kyle Kovach, was named the Sandusky Bay Conference Player of the Year after going 7-1 with a 0.52 ERA and 80 strikeouts across 54 innings during his senior season at Huron High School. He was selected First Team All-District. Additionally, Beau Workman, freshman outfielder, earned Second Team All-Ohio, Gold Glove and First Team All-District honors. These are just a couple examples of the promising talent Malone has picked up. “We have a good group of guys that are excited to play. We know our roles and can’t wait to take the field,” said freshman infielder Zach Mottice. Mottice was named First Team All-Federal League and All-Ohio Academic and will play second base for the Pioneers. Malone has brought in an exceptionally talented group of freshman players who are ready to prove themselves and show the league their talent. “Honestly, we brought in a solid class, and they are hungry. The coaching staff has brought in not only good players but good people that will fit what Malone baseball is all about. Our team is on the right path for the future,” said Chandler Stahl, junior pitcher. After an 11-game spring break trip to Tucson, Arizona, the Pioneers have returned to make their G-MAC debut against Cedarville on March 24. The Pioneers are very excited to play in the new conference and to build on their success from the past two years in the GLIAC. Hannah Devitt is a guest writer for The Aviso.