With Lee Buechler and hand full of other starters returning this year, the Greencastle High School baseball team will have the experience needed for this season.
Buechler returns to the mound this year for the Tiger Cubs to anchor the pitching staff. Last year Buechler had an earn run average of 3.13 and a record of 4-4. He struck out 70 batters and only gave up 27 earned runs. Also returning to the mound for Greencastle will be Derek Patterson and Austin Miller.
The Tiger Cubs will have the depth on the mound this year, but the one thing that GHS Coach Troy Greenlee would like to see his team do this year is to be more consistent than they were last year.
"We have some guys back that pitched for us last year and if they can stay consistent on the mound for us and we can stay consistent with our hitting, we'll be alright," Greenlee said.
Greencastle posted a team ERA of 4.01 last year with 42 strikeouts while going 5-11 overall and 2-6 in the West Central Conference and had a team batting average of .278.
Returning back behind the plate this season will Kendall Faust. Faust started half the games last year for the Tiger Cubs as a freshman and Greenlee said that he really has come on strong this year. Filling the rest of the positions on the field will be Joe Downy and Miller, when he isn't pitching, at first base while Ryan Wilson will be at second base. Johnny Pasho and Erick Burgeson will be playing short stop and Patterson will be on third. Zach Remsburg will be in centerfield while Michael Richardson will be making the transition from the infield to right field while newcomer Chris Pingleton will be in left field.
There will be one player that will be sorely missed from last year's squad, Matt Plessinger. Plessinger was the top hitter on the team last year, posting a .400 batting average and a .753 slugging average with 27 runs batted in and nine homeruns.
"Plessinger is going to be a guy that is missed and were probably not going to be able to hit the long ball this year," Greenlee said. "We will just need to be consistent with putting the ball into play."
There are few things that Greenlee would like see his team do better this year, like pputting the ball into play more.
"We struck out to much last year and we need to have stronger fielding," He said. "We need to be more patient offensively this season as well. We don't have Plessinger to hit a homerun for us this year.
"We just need to hit the ball into play and get the big hits when they come," Greenlee said.
Greencastle may be without Plessinger, but they have several other strong batters back on the team this year.
Richardson hit .232 last year for the Tiger Cubs and posted five RBI while Remsburg batted .295 and had 10 RBI and stole 11 bases last year. Faust finished the 2005 season with a. 226 batting average, so the Tiger Cubs will have some hitters on the team this year, they just wont have the slugging ability they had last year.
There is one thing that Greenlee does know and that is that the county and conference will be challening this year.
"The county will be competitive this year. North should be good and Cloverdale and SouthPutnam have some good players returning for the m," Greenlee said. "It w ill be a tough conference thsiyear also. Monrovia will be better this year and Cascade will be good again, so it should be interesting."
Greenlee will get to find out how good North Putnam is early this year as they open up their season on the road with the Cougars on Monday at 4:30 p.m.