West Union baseball looks to improve on five-win season –
By Mark Carpenter –
Coming off of a disappointing five-win season in 2017, Coach Joe Kramer is looking for better things from his West Union Dragons baseball squad as they begin the 2018 campaign. Much of that hope stems from the fact that Kramer has a deep pitching staff, some power, and a group of players that he describes as “versatile.”
“I think our team this year can definitely be described as versatile,” says Kramer. “Each player can play more than one position and we will have fun seeing who plays where on any given day.”
The West Union pitching staff goes six deep according to the head coach- including Jared Fenton, Brandan Cornell, Dylan Grooms, Ryan Rothwell, Alex Hirsch, and Brycen Staten. Kramer also indicates that Elijah McCarty and Clayton Madden could see time on the mound.
“We have six players who want to pitch, and with the pitch count rule, we could certainly use more,” quips the Dragons’ head coach.
The Dragons’ versatility gives them a lot of depth at all of the positions, beginning behind the plate, where Kramer sees five possible backstops in Cornell, Madden, Brandon Blevins, Dylan Grooms, and Gabe Grooms. First base will be handled by the southpaw Fenton, McCarty, and Michael Carson, with the second base duties likely going to Carson, Rothwell, and Hirsch.
Shortstop goes to Cornell, McCarty, Blevins, and Hirsch, while the hot corner at third base will be manned by Blevins, Hirsch, and Staten.
The West Union outfield will be a combined group consisting of Carson, Rothwell, Madden, Staten, Blevins, Carson, and Gabe Grooms.
At the plate, the Dragons should be able to score some runs, led by the bats of Fenton from the left side and Cornell from the right side, both of whom showed long ball power in 2017. “We are counting on two seniors- Carson and Gabe Grooms, to also have big years at the plate for us,” says Coach Kramer.
“Last year we lost to Adena in the tournament in a very close game. Adena had eight seniors on their team and played like you would want seniors to play in their final season. We will really need our younger players to play older-like they were seniors too.”
Last spring was a topsy-turvy one for baseball in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference and Kramer hopes his team can be in the thick of the big school race when this spring comes to a close.
“Last season was one of the wildest in the SHAC in a number of years,” says the WUHS head coach. “Every team had amazing wins and then some head-scratching losses and the same can happen again. We hope to be in the thick of it and our team is anxious to get on the field and prove it. We have some tough games scheduled out of conference that should give us some challenges and great competition. Hopefully we will provide some exciting moments to share with your readers.”
The Dragons lost a solid group of seniors from last year’s squad, a group that included Andrew Weeks, Casey Mullenix, Cody Thornberry, and Kramers’ son Janson. They will be replaced by the 2018 group of seniors that includes Fenton, McCarty, Carson, and Gabe Grooms.
“We are ready to get this season started,” says Kramer. “Sometime Mother Nature just doesn’t seem to be a sports fan.”