Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Preseason Baseball Notebook

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Preseason Baseball Notebook

Article excerpt

O'Fallon fell one run short of winning a super-sectional last season against a team that was the eventual Class 4A state baseball champion.

The Panthers suffered some graduation losses from that 30-10 team, but they're also determined to finish the job.

"Losing in the super-sectional left a bitter taste," senior pitcher/outfielder Bradley Harrison said. "We want to go further into the tournament and see if we can do some damage. We just need some guys to step up."

Harrison, who was 11-2 with a 1.32 earned run average to go along with a .418 batting average, four home runs and 48 RBI, leads a solid core of leaders for O'Fallon coach Jason Portz.

Other key players include a trio of seniors Brad Snyder, who is slated to split time at third and first; outfielder Dillon Weiss; and shortstop Camden Bauer, who signed with Alabama.

Portz hopes O'Fallon, which has started the season 7-1, will follow the path the team set last season.

"To beat Edwardsville, who had been the best team in the region all year, at the end of the year was a great indicator of how far we had come," Portz said. "The experience our players got winning a regional, sectional and eventually losing in the super (sectional) is something you cannot simulate and will serve them well this year."

YOUNG GUNS

Losing nine players to graduation and senior Connor Urevich the first week of the season because of a season-ending knee injury left some spots on the Holt roster that needed to be filled.

Early on, sophomores Nick Schmidt and Nick Wilke have played well for the Indians.

Schmidt leads Holt with two wins while Wilke is hitting .462 with nine RBI and a pitching victory.

"Any time you have seven sophomores on the varsity roster, you don't know what to expect," Holt coach Joel Adam said. "We're throwing them out there to see what they can do. We've made some mistakes early, but I'm happy. Those are going to happen with any young team, but I am pleasantly surprised."

Holt is off to a 4-1 start and finished third at the Troy Tournament. …

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