Galena will look to build off an 8-8 finish this past fall in hopes of improving on last year’s 10-15 spring record in coach Tim Townsend’s first season as head coach.
He has a good starting point with first-team all-conference seniors Luke Burk and Caleb McCullough returning to lead the team.
Burk, a Neosho County Community College signee, was the team’s top hitter last season and will be the ace on the mound. He hit .494 with 10 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 21 steals. He also was 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA on the mound.
“Luke played all over this summer and faced some really good competition and I believe those numbers will only go up his senior year,” Townsend said.
McCullough will be the team’s top outfielder and another key hitter after batting .348 with a double, triple and 15 steals as a junior.
“Caleb has tremendous speed and we look for him to score a lot of our runs this year,” Townsend said.
Josh Gulick gives the Bears a third senior to lean on. He had a strong fall season where he hit over .300. Gulick will be looked to both on the mound and in the outfield.
Sophomores Wyatt Snelson (infield), Logan Thompson (infield), Grant Harness (pitcher/infield), Hunter Chase (outfield) and Caden Sartin (outfield) worked hard in the offseason and Townsend expects marked improvement in their second season of high school baseball.
Cameron Robertson, Logan Busbey, Zane Tolbert, Arin McCullough, and Kellen Campbell will all look to compete for varsity spots as freshmen.
Dawson Sherer will be another pitcher to watch for Galena in his junior season.
Galena should shine defensively, but will need pitchers to force opponents to hit and utilize that defense while also stepping up at the plate themselves.
“(Our) biggest strength will be our defense. I believe we have a guy at every position who will go make a play no matter where the ball is hit,” Townsend said. “As a team we need to do a better job of putting the ball in play, and having our pitcher more consistent in the zone.”
The Bears have a strong leadership base with their senior class that has set a high standard for the program.
“We have a very good senior class this year who has set the bar high for our younger guys. These guys have shown great work ethic and all of our younger guys look up to them,” Townsend said. “We were a very young team last year and now that most of these guys have got a year or more under their belt, I believe we will be one of the tops team in our conference and believe we will compete in districts.”
Galena opens the season on Mar. 15 at home against Wheaton.