2017 Western Big Six baseball capsules – Quad City Times
Coach: Jerry Burkhead (third year)
2016 record: 16-19 (2-8 in Big Six)
Current record: 6-2
Key returnees: Chase VanDerGinst, so., C; Sam Mattecheck, so., P-CF; Tom Boland, sr., DH-1B; Jake Lange, sr., SS; Liam McConville, sr., P; Jono Berry, so., P
Top newcomers: Collin Rogiers, jr, P-1B; Chris McFarland, jr., OF; Brendan Hird, jr., OF.
Outlook: “With this big roster (25 players), just continue to build the chemistry (is the key),” Coach Jerry Burkhead said. “We are just trying to teach them the small things, the attention to detail, it’s all equally important.”
Coach: Arnie Gonzalez
2016 record: 17-14 (5-5)
Current record: 3-1
Key returnees: Tyree Mitchell, sr., CF; Ronnie Schott, jr., SS/P; Justin McGinnis, sr., RF/P; Larry Pettis, sr., 3B; Tyler Lowe, sr., 1B/P
Top newcomers: Nick Fields, P
Outlook: Moline stopped Galesburg’s streak of Big Six titles at four last year. The Streaks are led by CF Mitchell and Schott, who struck out 53 in in 45 innings with a 1.40 ERA. Streaks could challenge for the Big Six title.
Coach: Craig Schimmell (sixth year)
2016 record: 30-7, 9-1 (Big Six champs)
Current record: 3-3
Key returnees: Nick Drobushevich, jr. CF, jr.; Brody Harding, so., SS
Top newcomers: Mike Conner, so., 3B; Nolan Griffin, jr., 2B; Brock Bertelli, sr., 1B; Ben Monroe, jr., LF; Dan Anderson, jr., LF; Eric Maffie ,jr., RF; Tyler Rossa, sr., C
Outlook: Pitching is key. Schimmel believes he has plenty of pitchers to choose from but they are inexperienced. “We’ve got guys very capable of going out there and winning games for us, but right now it’s kind of early, so they are kind of inexperienced. But I think they are going to be OK for us.” Among his top choices are Adrien Reese, Cody Daniels, Carter Schierbrock and Jordan Benson.
Coach: Jay Wayland (sixth year at RI, 31st overall)
2016 record: 12-21 overall (4-6)
Current record: 5-5
Key returnees: Hunter Keim, sr., P/2B; J.T. Tauke, sr. P/OF; Dominic Esposito, sr., 1B/P; Charlie Allison, so., SS; Zach Blumberg, sr., C/IF; Isaac Thomspon, sr., OF; Spencer Hasselroth, so., P/OF; Kelann Lampkin, sr. IF; Brady Smith, sr., P
Top newcomers: Bryce Trask, so., 3B
Outlook: Experience counts: “The experience meter is (at the three-quarter mark) for us,” Wayland said. “The team is very hard working,” he added. “They are very determined to improve, and they are improving. If they continue to practice as hard as they are right now, there is no doubt in my mind this will be a very strong team by the end of the season.”
Coach: Brigham John
2016 record: 16-13-1 (4-6)
Current record: 3-1
Key returnees: Ben Schroeder, sr., P/OF; Drake Green, sr., P/IF; Derek Green, sr., P/OF; Andrew Meyer, sr., IF.
Top newcomers: Dax Flowerree, jr., P/IF; Alex Harbin, jr., IF/OF; Matt Schweite, jr., OF.
Outlook: A good hitting team is expected. Some experienced pitching returns, too. Plenty of good athletes in Quincy this year as evidenced by Big Six titles in football and basketball. Baseball wants to take its turn, John told the Quincy Herald-Whig.
Coach: Mike Meyers (first season)
2016 record: 12-20
Current record: 2-3
Key returnees: Givon Alonzo, sr., SS; Norm Trujillo, sr., 3B; Richie Rice, sr., C; Antonio Dominguez, sr., C; Greyson Durbin, sr., 2B; Noah Hoefner, sr., CF; Francisco Lopez, sr., RF; Enrique Sebeda, jr., LF
Top newcomers: Cole Walker, jr., P/3B; Bobby Neal, jr., P/IF
Outlook: New coach Mike Meyers is a former minor league pitcher. He believes pitching and defense will key the Panthers. “If we can throw strikes and our defense has been solid do far,” he said. “If we can keep that up, that’s our keys to success.”
— Jim Meenan