Having one premier power hitter is a luxury most high school teams don’t have. Unfortunately for opposing pitchers this spring, the Parkview Vikings just happen to have two.
Seniors Landan Ruff and Andrew Kendrick have blasted the Vikings to a 2-0 start. Parkview has tallied 31 runs, with Kendrick (3) and Ruff (1) combining for four home runs.
"We don't sit back and wait for the 3-run bomb, but when it comes it's nice," said Vikings coach John Thompson. "Those guys have the potential to hit the ball out to all fields."
So far, the long ball has come the Vikings’ way. Ruff, the No. 3 hitter and a Missouri State commit, has a simple approach at the plate.
"I look for a lot of fastballs and the first fastball I see that's there, I'm driving it," Ruff said.
Hitting No. 4 in the lineup, Kendrick says he comes up with the intent of intimidating the pitcher.
"You have to have some confidence," Kendrick said. "I feel like I have to have some swagger when I get to the plate. I just try to hit the ball hard and do my job."
Ruff and Kendrick, who have hit back-to-back in a lineup since they were 11 years old, have helped replace the loss of current Missouri State freshman Spencer Johnson.
Thompson admitted he had concerns about Parkview’s offense as the Vikings tried to replace Johnson for 2013.
"Losing Spencer last year, we thought we'd have a pretty good hole in our lineup," Thompson said. "Those two have stepped up and just taken it by the reigns."
Parkview has experience on its side. The Vikings’ senior class played together before they were even freshmen at Parkview.
"When you have guys that are together that long, it's neat," Thompson said. "It's a special bond that they have off the field, during practice and it's great on the field."
Ruff, who hit No. 5 in the lineup last season, credits the other hitters in Parkview’s lineup.
Speedy leadoff hitter Hunter Steinmetz helps set the table. Others like Wayne Manier, Tanner James and Brandon Beavers have produced early.
"We have a deep lineup, one of the best in the conference," Ruff said. "We know if we don't produce the runs, they will."
Ruff will be Parkview’s third straight Missouri State commit, following Johnson (2012) and Darin Francis (2011). Francis has since transferred to Evangel.
Thomspon said Kendrick has narrowed his options to Johnson County Community College and Lindenwood.