Strong returning class will set tone for GHS

Saturday, March 26, 2011

With every sport it always comes down to numbers. Luckily for Greencastle baseball, it looks as if the numbers are in their favor. The team has six returning seniors, six returning player who saw action on the mound and are the two-time defending Putnam County champions.

Last season ended on a tough note as South Vermillion edged Greencastle in the sectional semifinal by a single run, 11-10, with the deciding run coming in the bottom of the seventh. That sting has been something the Tiger Cubs have felt throughout the off-season. But it's time to look past that loss and the Tiger Cubs have to ready themselves to enter their current season on a high note.

For head coach Troy Remsburg and his squad, 2011 should be a good year. Their hopes are high for a successful season, and despite the limitations the weather has put on them, Remsburg believes they're headed in the right direction.

Pitching is also crucial at the high school level and the Tiger Cubs have a wealth of experience coming back at that position.

"I have six returning kids that pitched last year," Remsburg said. "Of course Keegan and Jesse pitched the most out of all of them. Last year Tanner Parker was hurt the biggest part of the year and so was Ryan Battin and that kind of hurt us. Hunter Mitchell and Dylan Linton kind of got thrown to the wolves last year and got a taste of varsity maybe sooner they should, but I think they'll do pretty well this year."

The Tiger Cubs have six seniors: Keegan Remsburg, Jesse Vermillion, Tanner Parker, Nataniel Velsquez, Joe Lenihan and Dustin York, as well as returning lettermen Andy Bell, Ryan Pettit, Ryan Battin, Hunter Mitchell and Landon Miller.

The team will look very similar to last year's squad, but Remsburg hopes a noticeable improvement defensively will be something the team can utilize for success. And for a team that did a lot of damage with its bats last year, he thinks their hitting should be improved as well.

"I think we'll be a little bit stronger on defense," Remsburg said. "I thought we were pretty decent last year on defense, but I think we'll be stronger this year. Of course we lost Kyle Johnson and he was a senior last year and Pat Richardson. Andy Bell's going to be moving to catcher and Landon Miller will play first base fulltime. He was part-time last year and DH'd quite a bit, so he'll be in a fulltime role.

"Also hitting wise, I think we'll be stronger. Realistically we should be better than we were last year. We left a game hanging there and got beat in the sectional, and probably shouldn't have gotten beat," he added.

Talent isn't an issue for the Tiger Cubs, but something that plagued them last year according to Remsburg was the team's tendency to look beyond what was right in front of them. Instead of taking care of the task at hand, they would look to a stronger team down the schedule. Remsburg thinks keeping focused on one team at a time will benefit his squad incredibly.

"Don't look past teams," he said of something the team needs to focus on. "There were some teams last year we looked past and were worried about who we played next. If it wasn't a conference game, sometimes they acted like they didn't care. This year I want them to care every game. Play every game like it's for the county championship or the sectional championship. Don't be satisfied splitting with one team in the conference.

"Expect to win. Don't be satisfied if you don't. Just little things like that. Attitude -- be a little more aggressive towards winning. Just the mental toughness. Getting stronger there," he added. "It should be a very exciting season."

With much of the team intact from last season, Remsburg and the Tiger Cubs have high expectations for the 2011 campaign. But as the head coach stated, once the team takes the field, it's up to them to field the responsibility and make sure they keep on track to attain their goals.

"Mainly to have a winning season this year," Remsburg said. "I think we went 10-16 last year and I don't see why we couldn't go 16-10 or even 18-8 -- I don't see why we can't do that. They have the tool and the capabilities to do it. Once you get on the field, they have to do it themselves. I see this team having a good winning season. I can't do it for them."

Greencastle's season begins Tuesday as it hosts West Vigo at 5 p.m.