GHS set to replace experience with younger athletes
The Tigers Cubs are optimistic heading into the 2013 baseball season. Greencastle lost six seniors of last year's squad, including Putnam County Player of the Year Ryan Battin, but a group of younger players has come up and the group is ready to rebuild.
"I think they'll be exciting to watch this year," GHS coach Troy Remsburg said. "This team is capable of playing some fun baseball and being fun to watch. I enjoyed watching (most of) these kids on the JV team last year."
Without Battin, last year's ace who threw more than 1,000 pitches and had a 2.83 ERA, the Tiger Cubs will go with a pitching-by-committee approach.
Remsburg said he's looking forward to it.
"Pitching-wise we're going to be pretty good," he said. "We're going to have to use more pitchers this eyar. I'm not going to have one -- until the middle or near the end of the year -- that can throw a whole game. ... We've got a few kids that could possibly do that, but they didn't have a lot of varsity innings last year."
The innings were dominated by Battin last season, and his versatile array of pitches and arm angles kept hitters off balance.
Remsburg may not have one pitcher who can do that this year, but the variety of arms at his disposal should still keep opposing hitters off balance.
"I'm going to have probably six kids that are all pretty equal that can throw the ball hard with different speeds and different pitches," he said. "Different sizes and speeds; everybody has a favorite pitch they like to throw. We've got some that can throw the ball pretty hard."
The no-ace approach should work on the mound, but Battin's stick will be tough to replicate. He led the team with a .440 average last year.
Absent an established presence in the middle of the order, Remsburg said the team will look to play small-ball and advance runners the old fashion way.
"This team, with it's youth, is very good at playing small-ball. They can bunt like no team I've ever had," he said. "We could surprise some people doing that this year. ... At any time (most of them) could almost put it on a dime."
Until the offensive identity fully develops, it will be pitching and defense that gets the Tiger Cubs through the season.
The athletic group didn't get much chance to prove itself last season, but when they played, Remsburg said, they impressed him.
"You couldn't tell ... on defense if it was the older guys or the younger guys," he said. "I've got some athletes. They know the game. They're hungry."
As the young core earns experience throughout the season, they'll already be chasing a set of tough goals that GHS strives for every year: win county, win conference, win sectional.
"We've done the conference and the county," Remsburg said. "One of our main goals this year is to make a dent in sectional. I can't remember the last time Greencastle won a sectional. It's been a while."
It was 1994, which is the second-longest drought in the county (Cloverdale, 1984).
To get there, the Tiger Cubs will have to challenge themselves and approach each at bat with postseason-intensity.
"I tell my players to take every team like we're playing a sectional game; you can't take them for granted," Remsburg said. "They want to win a sectional."
Greencastle was set to begin its season on Thursday at home against West Vigo at 5 p.m., but that has been postponed.
Conference play begins Monday when the Tiger Cubs host North Putnam at 5 p.m.