Barnesville baseball set to make up for lost time
By SETH STASKEY
Times Leader Sports Editor
BARNESVILLE — All teams were disappointed with how the 2020 season ended. But, that’s especially true at Barnesville where the Shamrocks were set to trot out a senior-laden squad.
Unfortunately, head coach D.J. Butler, who is entering his 14th season at the Shamrocks help, bid farewell to the likes of Jared Kernen, Jagger Jefferis, Alex Meade, Zach Thompson, Luke Eddy, Uryan Meade and Riley Tubaugh.
“It was one of the most disheartening things I’ve ever dealt with as a coach,” Butler said of the 2020 cancellation due to COVID-19. “Telling a group of players who had such high expectations their season was going to be lost was heartbreaking. As awful as it was, it gave all of us a greater appreciation for being able to play and coach the game we love.”
The 2021 Shamrocks will clearly have a different look which could lead to some growing pains along the way.
“In regards to varsity playing time, we’ll be putting an inexperienced team on the field,” Butler said. “The guys, however, have played a lot of baseball over the years. Our numbers aren’t as high as they’ve been in the past, but I feel really good about the ability of all 22 guys to step in and play a role if need be.”
Three seniors will lead the way. They are Jake Edwards, who will pitch and play first base; Ayden Hannahs, who will roam in centerfield when he’s not on the mound; and Brady Wildes, who will also pitch and play outfield.
Four junior lettermen headline that class. They are Gavin Carpenter (catcher, third, pitcher); Colton Hines (outfield, pitcher), Jeremy Hunkler (infield, pitcher) and Kason Powell (utility).
The balance of the junior class includes: Spencer Bliss (outfield, pitcher), Kyvan Johnson (catcher); Logan Shepherd (first, catcher, pitcher) and Noah Strauss (infield, pitcher).
Sophomore C.J. Hannahs is expected to contribute and can play outfield and pitch.
Other tenth graders seeking to contribute are Logan Anderson (pitcher, 1B) and Corbin Wise (2B, pitcher).
Freshmen vying for playing time are Duke Castello (SS, 2B, pitcher), Johnny Huntsman (infield, pitcher); Skyler King (utility, pitcher); Colevin Robb (catcher, 1B), Taison Starr (outfield, pitcher); Reese Stephens (infield, pitcher); Aydon VanHorn (infield, pitcher) and Jaxon Wiley (short, pitcher).
“We have some solid younger players who will push the upperclassmen to perform,” Butler said. “I feel this year’s team has the ability to compete with every team we take the field against. I believe if we throw strikes and play defense we will continue to have success like we have the past several year.”
Butler is being assisted by Bryce Allen, Zane Huntsman, Jeff Miller, Tony Starr and Joel Atkinson.