Increased numbers, returning talent boost Knights’ playoff prospects | Baseball

King’s aiming for return to districts
By David Pan | Mar 08, 2018 
The King’s baseball team is looking to rebound after a tough 2017 season.

The Knights took more than their fair share of lumps with a team composed entirely of sophomores and freshmen. Going up against rivals with seniors and juniors, King’s won only one out of 19 games and missed the district playoffs.

This year the Knights appear to have the numbers and the talent needed to finds their way back into the postseason chase.

Head coach Jake Beattiger and his staff are working with 19 players, up from last season’s 14. Nine freshmen have joined the program and they are expected to be contributors along with several key returners.

Sophomore Tyler Durbin recorded the Knights’ lone victory, a 1-run complete game performance against Cedarcrest. He and sophomore A.J. Knorr are expected to be the Knights’ top two pitchers.

“It’s big for him and A.J. to get off to a good start on the mound,” Beattiger said. “We gave up too many free bases last year.”

Beattiger wants to see his pitchers getting ahead in the count.

The King’s coach sees freshman Ben Edwards, who is tentatively penciled in at second base, as a potential No. 3 starter.

“He’ll be a big impact player,” Beattiger said.

Finding the right catcher was an issue last season and Beattiger said that freshman Keenan Schott appears ready to take over the role.

The infield is anchored by returning junior shortstop Isaac Hines.

“He’s bigger, taller and stronger this year, which is great,” Beattiger said.

King’s has two intra-squad scrimmages and a jamboree at Shorewood High School this week.

“Playing time is up for grabs with the guys out here,” Beattiger said. “We’ll see guys on the mound and see what we’ve got.”

The freshmen definitely will see action this week and into the regular season.

“We’ve got nine of them. They’re going to have to play,” Beattiger said.

This marks the fourth year of the King’s baseball program and Beattiger is glad to see the growth in overall numbers, especially after a tough season. If the Knights add half a dozen more freshmen next year, then the program may start fielding a junior varsity team.

“That would be huge,” Beattiger said. “We definitely had some growing pains. We missed the playoffs last year. The first two years we made the playoffs. We’re looking to get back into the hunt.”