Harrison baseball hopes
By Ben Murphy
Even though he’s been retired from teaching for a few years, Tom Whitfield just can’t seem to keep himself away from coaching high school baseball and softball.
“I’ve been at it on and off for a long time, I really haven’t stopped coaching,” Whitfield, who is best known in the area for his 17 years coaching baseball at Farwell said. “I just like working with the kids and I like keeping busy. It’s always fun to work with kids that are trying to do something positive. One nice thing about athletics is a lot of positive things happen.”
Whitfield, who’s last season at Farwell was in 2011, was an assistant softball coach at Big Rapids last year, is set to begin his newest challenge, as head coach at Harrison.
Event though the Hornets were winless last year, the coach isn’t letting that hinder his enthusiasm.
“The kids are working hard on improving,” Whitfield said. “Our effort is what we control and the players understand that.”
Whitfield, who has 27 years combined coaching baseball and softball and guided the Farwell baseball team to a Jack Pine Conference championship in 1979 hopes returning players can help the squad pick up more wins.
“Our biggest strength is seven returning letterman with varsity experience,” he said. “I am very pleased with the varsity and junior varsity effort in practice.”
Seniors returning to the team include Dylan Laporte (first base, pitcher), Cody Cooper (first base, pitcher), Mike Minski (shortstop, pitcher), Brooks Leonard (outfield), juniors Matt Haskell (third base, pitcher), Justin Yager (outfield, pitcher) and sophomore Thomas Nunnally (catcher, second base).
New to the team are juniors Logan Tenwalde (utility), Brandon Wyzlio (outfield), Jacob Foley (outfield), Gage Agin (catcher, second base), Jacob Patterson (outfield, first base) and freshman Zack Anderson (outfield, pitcher).
“Cooper is a your year varsity letter winner so he will be one of our main players, on the mound and at first base,” Whitfield said. “LaPorte led the team in hitting last year and Haskell will also see a lot of mound time. Anderson will be our third pitcher as a freshman.
If the players (on) varsity and junior varsity continue to work hard, eventually the results will show,” Whitfield added. “Record wise the past years haven’t been successful so we will put that behind and move forward.”
The Hornets open their season April 10, hosting Marion and host McBain April 11.