By Chris Parker
Norwood baseball has big expectations coming off a 13-9 season that saw the Pirates win a district title for the first time since 2015. They fell to eventual state champion Oran in the Class 1 state quarterfinals.
“Our team’s biggest strength will be our experience coming into this year,” Norwood head coach Drew Miller said. “This group of boys lost in the quarterfinals last year to a very good Oran team. They learned a lot and are ready to get back to work.”
A quartet of experienced senior leaders will look to lead the Pirates back to the final four. That group includes: Garrett Davault, Jacob Sinning, Dylan Calhoun and Braden Wehrer.
“They are my seniors this year,” Miller said. “They have started almost every game since their freshman year. You can’t beat their experience and skills.”
Davault, Sinning and Toby Cottengim (junior) will be the key pitchers.
“Garrett is probably my best velocity guy. He throws a lot of strikes and challenges hitters,” Miller said. “Jacob is more of a finesse pitcher. He has a great curveball that can set his fastball up to be very effective. Toby is a finesse lefty. He has a good curveball and throws a lot of strikes.”
Freshman Gunner Bradshaw will look to take over behind the plate at catcher.
“He is very raw right now but we are making good strides that will pay off towards the end of spring,” Miller said. “He is an athletic kid and picks things up quickly.”
The infield lineup will line up like this: Dylan Calhoun at third base, Garrett Davault at shortstop, Cooper Vaughan at second base, Jacob Sinning at first base and Peyton McDaris as a utility player.
The outfield will line up like this: Toby Cottengim in left field, Noah Drake in centerfield, Max McGowan in right field and Dillon Bennett in a utility role.
“Our team’s biggest strength will be our experience coming into this year. This group of boys lost in the Quarterfinals last year to a very good Oran team. They learned a lot and are ready to get back to work.”
Norwood opens the season on Mar. 18 at home against Hurley.
“I feel like we are going to be a solid team this year,” Miller said. “Our offense will be led by veteran bats, and with our top three on the mound we will have a chance to win.”