Hornets Baseball Returns Seven Starters
In building a quality high school baseball team, veteran Hundred Head Coach Ron Dennis finished his second season with a very nice 6-12 record, while teaching the basic baseball principles while instilling a winning atmosphere and brand new uniforms plus an appetite to learn the game.
Only three seniors are gone from graduation in Jacob Allen, Charles Rine and Travis McCoy, however, coach Dennis is excited to have 7-starters returning and ready to show what they have learned about American-past-time baseball.
A few players, that Dennis was hoping for, didn’t join the team this year, but he wants players who want to learn and want to be there – to represent themselves, their family, and the school.
With the pitching rule in effect for the third straight season, Dennis must still use a lot of kids, to put in that spot, to keep the pitch count low, and he is working hard every day to get kids prepared to compete.
He got the kids back that bought into his idea to get the Hornets back on the map in high school baseball what he was trying to do, and has increased the games to be played to the max. Dennis and his team are now ready to deliver sooner than later.
Hundred has a 16-player roster, featuring 5-seniors. They are – Logan Norris, infielder; Hunter Tustin, first base; Marlin Hippensteel, outfield; and Bryce Bartrug, outfield. The quartet will all see mound duty. In his first season of organized baseball, senior Eli Geho has the will to do what ever it takes to win.
Norris will hold down the short-stop position when sophomore Christian Fluharty isn’t on the mound. Both Norris and Fluharty has an excellent glove and a great arm, and will be the glue to hold the infield together, while “The Hit Machine” Hunter Tustin looks to be again solid at first, who batted over .450 is the “Main Man” at the plate that can drive in runs. Fluharty and Bartrug will do the bulk of pitching duties, and they both are pretty good at the plate too. Fluharty will also be the main closer if he has the innings, while Bartug will close when Christian isn’t. Hippensteel will also see time every where especally in the outfield and behind the plate. Marlin is also a nifty base-runner and will also be used as a designation runner for the catcher. Fluharty follwed Tustin with a .438 batting avearge, while Batrug and Norris each was batting close to .300.
Gauge Boston and Bobby Hostutler, both 2-year lettermen, head a 4-player junior class. Boston is an outfielder and pitcher, while Hostutler is an infielder and hurler. Classmate Dylan Walton will be utilized as a pitcher, catcher, outfielder and first baseman. New to the club is Ethan Merril who looks to be a solid player along with Chris Rine who are battling for the starting third base duties. With both seeing plenty of playing-time, will also see time in the infield as well as pitching.
Coach Dennis has three very good sophomore letter-winners back in Chris Rine is an infielder-outfielder; Isaac Price is a catcher and infielder while Christian Fluharty will be utilized as a pitcher, infielder and outfielder. From the mound, Fluharty pitched in 11of their 19-games held a 2.39 ERA, with 88-stike-outs, with 4-wins and saved 2-games, while Bartrug finished with a 3.38 ERA and struck-out25-batters. and won the other 2-games. Other Hornets that saw pitching time a season ago were Logan Norris, Bobby Hostutler, Hunter Tustin, Dylan Walton and Gauge Boston.
Rounding out the Hundred roster are 4-freshmen in Everett Johnson, Ethan Fowler, Levi Eaken and Jaden Watson. Johnson is battling for the catcher’s duties with Walton, while the rest will need to work their way up to get significant playing time in the outfield.
This year’s emphasis is to keep developing their pitching staff and defense. Early on in practice the majority of the team looks better than they did last year.
“It is our expectation to enter every game this season with a chance to win,” said Coach Dennis. “One of our goals is to make the OVAC Tournament, and we also want compete competitively in our section.
“We have some kids that will challenge others for playing time,” said Dennis who also has veteran assist coach Terry Riter and score-keeper Chris Fluharty.
“All I ask the kids to play as hard as they can, learn the game, live the game and play the game. Represent themselves, their family and their school with the best sportsmanship that they can.”
After opening the season playing five of their first six games on the road an eight of their first 10-games, Hundred will open with South Harrison on the road March 16 at 5:30 pm, before hosting the Valley Lumberjacks March 19th at 5 pm, before playing 4-straight away games.