By Ben Murphy
The Clare Pioneer baseball team may have made it all the way to the division three quarterfinals last year, but they can’t help but return their sights to another coveted prize for the 2014 season.
“(We want to) win the Jack Pine Conference and be playing solid baseball come the playoffs,” second year head coach Skeet Colosky said. “Meridian won the league last year, they have to be the favorites this year. Gladwin, Beaverton and Farwell should all be in the mix this year as well.”
The Pioneers went 24-5 overall last year and were 12-2 in the JPC, 2.5 games behind league champion Meridian.
In the post-season Clare cruised through Harrison and Standish-Sterling to win districts and topped a tough Valley Lutheran team in the regional semi-finals and avenged two regular season losses by topping Meridian to win the regional championship. Clare had its season end in quarterfinals though, with a 5-1 loss to Whittemore-Prescott.
“I think we will be solid on defense,” Colosky said. “Still, areas to improve but so far it looks solid. Our hitting needs to come around this year. If our hitting goes we will go.”
Returning from last years team are seniors Colton Punches (pitcher), Logan Emery (infield, pitcher), Chris Dysinger (pitcher, outfield), Nick Montini (infield, outfield), Jordan Gross, Matthew Magnus (infield, pitcher), Bob Green (first base, outfield) and junior Charlie Bugbee (middle infield, pitcher).
New to the team are juniors Paul Cole, Brendan Gyulveszi, Ryan Seiter, Sam Adkins, Conner Clickner, Erik Hasenfratz, Mason Packard and AJ Vinton. Sophomore Camden Dice (second base) was a late season call-up for the Pioneers a year ago and is back as well, with freshman Gabe Denton rounding up newcomers.
“We have a great mix of players,” Colosky said. “We have a lot of athletic ability and some really solid baseball players. It should be fun to see how this season plays out.”
Clare is scheduled to open the season on April 8 at Bullock Creek.