By Ben Murphy
Two years ago the Harrison baseball team didn’t win a game. Last year, the Hornets won eight contests. Second year head coach Tom Whitfield is hoping that the win total increases again this year.
“Hopefully we’re trending upward,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the season. The kids have been working really hard in practice. They’ve been really focused on the things we’ve been working on, this is a hard working bunch of kids.”
Back from last year’s team that went 2-12 in the Jack Pine Conference and won eight games are seniors Matt Haskell (third base, pitcher, JPC honorable mention), Logan Tenwalde (utility, first base), Gage Agin (catcher, outfield) Jacob Patterson (outfield), juniors Thomas Nunnally (shortstop, pitcher), Alan Poole (pitcher, outfield, catcher) and sophomore Zach Anderson (pitcher, catcher JPC all-conference).
Senior Brandon Steele (pitcher, infield) transfers in after playing varsity ball for a school in the thumb last year and junior exchange student Masa Higa (pitcher, outfield) has baseball experience in Japan.
New to the team are juniors Cody Forster (pitcher, outfield), Justice Walraven (infield), Jordan Cottrell (infield, outfield), Montenegro exchange student Danilo Vukcevic (outfield) and sophomore Blayne Fowler (pitcher, outfield).
“I would suspect that Anderson and Haskell will carry the load of the pitching duties, with help from Steele, Higa and Poole,” Whitfield, who has coached baseball in the area since 1975 said. Tenwalde is solid at first base while Anderson, Tenwalde, Nunnally and Patterson led the team in hitting last year.”
Still, with all the returning talent, the frigid March weather hasn’t been kind to the team as they have had to prepare for the season indoors.
“We keep it simple,” Whitfield said. “We work on pitching, fielding and hitting. We work on fundamental skills and just develop on those skills.”
The coach also added that Clare and Meridian, who’ve traditionally dominated the JPC should be tough again.
“I guess we like to keep our goals simple,” Whitfield said. “First, we’d like to be competitive in all of our games. Our second goal would be to win more games then last year. We just want to be ready to come out and play and be competitive.”
Harrison has already had two March dates canceled due to weather. The next schedule game is April 7 at home against Grayling.