By Scott Vanscoy (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Galena Bears baseball program had one of their best seasons in program history last year when they went 18-6, and 6-1 in the SWCL. This year, the Bears will look to replace nine seniors, six of whom were starters, off of last year’s team. New head coach Tim Townsend will take over this young roster of Bears and is looking forward to the challenge before him.
“Losing nine seniors from any program, whether it is at a small school or a big school, is a big hit,” said Townsend. “However, we are returning three All-Conference/All-District players, two of which made. I feel like we have a good nucleus to build on.”
Leaving the den were starters Caleb Hall, Caleb Seaman, Logan Sorrell, Dallas Besperat, Blake Batson and Dillon Gold.
Caleb Hall and Logan Sorrell were the leaders of last year’s team. Hall went 7-0 on the mound, and was the spark plug that started the Bears offensively. His actions spoke louder than words. Hall was dominating on the mound with a minuscule ERA of 0.89 and was no slouch at the plate, hitting .405 with 2 triples and one home run.
Logan Sorrell, the SWCL MVP, now playing at Southwest Baptist University, was a dependable and steadying force both on the mound and at the plate. Sorrel went 7-1 with a 1.86 ERA and was a guy that never got too high or too low. The all-state selection always had a good demeanor when he stepped up to the plate, where he hit .395 and drove in 20.
Catcher Caleb Seaman is going to be a hard player to replace as he spent a majority of his time behind the plate but was also a threat in the outfield, making play after play. Dallas Besperat, Blake Batson and Dillon Gold were solid contributors, threw some innings when needed, and always competed. They did the little things to make big things happen.
All is not lost, though, because Galena has a strong nucleus of players to build around. Seniors Austin Holt and Cody Sartin, and junior Luke Burk are the returning starters for the Bears.
Holt was All-State Honorable Mention last year and has been an All-District and Conference pick the last 3 years. Holt brings with him a .468 batting average, led the team in hits and was second in RBI’s with 24. Holt will bat in the middle of the lineup; he will be a big run producer and also play many positions on the field.
Sartin will spend most of his time on the bump. When not pitching, he will patrol the outfield and bat in the middle of the lineup. Sartin was an All-District 1st Team and an All-Conference selection as pitcher in his sophomore year.
Burk was an All-State selection as a sophomore and a two-time All-Conference and District selection. Burk will spend most of his time at shortstop and will be expected to pitch, as well. Burk will be a top of the lineup guy and hopefully utilize his speed on the base paths.
Three upperclassmen will be newcomers to the roster this season. They are: senior Jarrett Chambers and juniors Caleb McCullough and Josh Gulick. Chambers, who hasn’t played in two years, will look to compete for a corner infield spot. McCullough will be a guy who can play anywhere and once on the base paths will be a big threat. Gulick, who is new to the program, will be a guy who can also play anywhere and will help on the mound. Sophomore Chase Gallion will compete for a spot in the rotation and in the infield. Lawrence Carter stood out toward the end of last season for the Bears and will look to continue that success and win a varsity spot in the outfield. Two other sophomores and five freshmen will be competing for the other spots on varsity.
When Townsend was asked about his goals for this upcoming season he said they were no different than those of any other team.
“Our goal, like anyone else, is to win more than we lose,” said Townsend. “We’ve got three really good returners coming back for us this spring and a lot of younger guys who are eager to get their chance at the varsity level. I will expect the newcomers to have the same impact on the program as the seniors did last year. If they buy into the program like our players have in the past, we’ve got a chance to compete for both the conference and district titles.”