Bucher, Lumberjacks Return Bulk of the Lineup
Third-year Valley Baseball coach Jeremy Bucher is a little excited about this season. After only winning eight games a year ago, the Lumberjacks are looking for bigger and better things in 2016.
Losing players like Hayden Lancaster, Taylor Bates, Pete Shaw and Peyton Palmer stings a good bit, especially Palmer who was the Lumberjacks’ top hitter, reliever and spiritual leader on and off the field.
However, Bucher played quite a few of his returning players who are ready to step in and become all they can be on the field.
Starting with returning senior starters Dusty Lowe, Morris Phillips and Colton Ring, the Lumberjacks have the foundation to build a solid team from the get-go. Lowe looks to hold down the hot corner, but his athleticism can help out wherever Bucher needs him. Phillips looks to be a player the Lumberjacks can use on the mound, as well as a utility player, along with fellow classmate Levi Myers.
VHS returns junior letterman Colby Bucher. As a sophomore, he earned all-OVAC. He, like Lowe, can play any position on the field. He will be used in many different ways. Normally, Colby will play second or shortstop or pitch, but you might also see him at first base or left field. He is a good hitter with power, and being the coach’s son, he will be a coach on the field.
Senior Colton Ring will be at second, but can play shortstop or third base if needed. Not only is he an outstanding fielder, he is solid with the bat, too. Phillips can do it all. He will give Coach Bucher quality innings on the mound. He also makes good contact with the bat.
Senior Levi Myers will play somewhere in the infield, and has been a pleasant surprise early on during conditioning and first couple weeks of practice.
Junior Tyler Stoneking will be used mainly at first base, but will also see some time in the outfield, while classmate Jeffery Dean Brown will be a quality utility player that can play about anywhere on the field.
Sophomore catcher Tyler Kocher will see some time on the mound. As a freshman, Kocher threw out 28 runners trying to move up a base.
Not only does he have a shotgun of an arm, he is just as accurate as well. At the plate, Kocher also excels; he seldom strikes out and consistently makes contact.
Besides Kocher and Stoneking, Valley will have eight other sophomores on the squad. It might take coach Bucher a few weeks to see where they can fit in to help the Lumberjacks improve on their 8-14 record.
Those other sophomores include Ethan Greathouse, Kyle Moore, Griffin Pigott, Davie Morgan, Caden Palmer, Austin Lowe and Ty Freed.
Helping Coach Bucher is his father, Perry, who was a very good player in his day, and will an asset to the team.
The Lumberjacks open up with Cameron (5 p.m.) and Paden City (6 p.m.) today and Friday, respectively.