GRAFTON— As the county prepares to start the winter season sports back up after the winter rise of COVID-19, we will now have a unique overlapping of winter and spring sports.
The Grafton High School (GHS) Baseball program was robbed of a great season last year as the team was stacked with seniors. However, due to the pandemic, they didn’t get to play a single inning of baseball.
Now the county’s prospective basketball programs will be overlapping a couple weeks with the spring baseball season, this will present some unique challenges for coaches.
And GHS Baseball coach Bartsel Keener is ready to tackle those challenges and focus on his game plan moving forward.
Keener flanked by his assistant coaches Greg Smith, John Gouzd and Mike Moats are excited for their upcoming season, which is slated to begin March 15.
Gouzd will be taking the reins this year as the Bearcat pitching coach.
“Pitching is the focus this year. As with any level in baseball it is always about the pitching,” Keener elaborated. “We have pitch counts now; it is something that were not used too but we have to deal with, but it is what it is. It complicates the game a little more, but it is worth it to keep the kids safe, so they are ready and strong enough to play at the next level if needed.”
Although last year’s promising roster hosted several seniors, this year the Bearcats will be entering play without a single fourth year player on the team.
“We have a strong group of freshmen this year, and this may be a rebuilding year of sorts, but we are still extremely excited. We have a lot of potential on this year’s squad that will make for an interesting season. We have two leaders on the team Eli Shoemaker and Tanner Moats that will help guide the team this season,” Keener exclaimed.
He also noted that he keeps a remarkably simple, but time tested and proven philosophy when it comes to baseball saying, “I want to see my infielders make the easy out. I would like my pitchers to help create outs and my outfielders to make the catch.”
This past year may have been an unusual time for the sports of Taylor County but our coaches have proven time and time again that they are up to the challenge.
We look forward to seeing the GHS Bearcats baseball take the field this spring.