2024 Spring Preview: Seneca Baseball


By Derek Shore (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

Seneca baseball took a large step forward in 2023 by going 18-13, falling to Monett 1-0 in eight innings in the district championship.

It was the Indians’ winningest season since the 2013 team went 22-5. Seneca has set loftier goals for 2024 with seven starters and 13 lettermen coming back.

“Last year’s team was a young but experienced team, returning eight starters from the year before,” Seneca coach Chris Yust said. “That experience helped us win several close games throughout the year. With the experience that we gained last year and the success that we had, I expect us to compete and be in every game this season. My goal is for us to continue to improve every game and be in a spot to compete for a conference and district championship at the end of the season.”

The Indians will be spearheaded by four returning all-conference performers from a year ago in senior Kade Johnson (catcher/pitcher), juniors Hagen Ginger (first baseman) and Grant Houchin (infielder/pitcher) as well as sophomore Drew Sherwood (outfielder/pitcher).

Johnson logged a .400 average last spring with 36 hits and 17 RBI while going 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA on the bump. Ginger hit .305 with 29 hits, 14 RBI and swiped 10 bags while Houchin compiled a 6-1 record with a 1.45 ERA and had a .250 average with 16 driven in. Sherwood had a standout freshman campaign with a 4-4 record with a 1.89 ERA and .308 average with nine RBI.

“Kade is a good defensive catcher with a strong arm and will help us offensively at the plate as well as on the mound, providing valuable leadership,” Yust said. “He will be attending Missouri State-West Plains to play baseball next year. Hagen has started at first base the last two years. His glove, bat and experience will be valuable this year.

“Grant started at third base and on the mound the last two seasons. His experience will be an asset at those spots again this year. Drew was second on the team with 52 innings pitched and started in the outfield last year as a freshman. His experience both on the mound and in the field will be valuable this year.”

Other key returning players include seniors Colton Curtis (shortstop/pitcher), Brian Bigbee (first baseman) and Payne Sikes (pitcher/infielder). The rest of the junior class is made up of Kaden Clouse (outfielder), Brayden Roark (infielder), Lane Scribner (outfielder) and Dalton Mathre (infielder/pitcher) while sophomores Roman Miller (infielder/outfielder) and Barrett Ginger (infielder) round out the returnees.

“Colton started at shortstop the last two years and gave us valuable innings on the mound,” Yust said. “His experience in those areas will be an asset this year. Brian started at DH for us last year. His bat, leadership and experience will be valuable for us this year. Payne set a state record last year with 22 appearances on the mound. His experience and leadership will be a valuable asset this year.

“Kaden has started in the outfield the last two seasons and will give us valuable experience in that spot again this year. Brayden spot-started at second base last year and will look to compete at the position again. Lane spot started in the outfield and was a courtesy runner last year. He will compete this year for a starting spot in the outfield. Dalton is a junior infielder and pitcher who gave us valuable innings on the mound last year. He will look to continue that this year as well as compete for playing time on the infield.

“Roman is a good athlete who as a freshman started at second base at the end of the season after injury slowed the start to his season. He will look to compete for a starting spot this year in the outfield as well as at second. Barrett was competing and spot started at second as a freshman until an injury ended his season. He is a good defender who will look to compete for a starting spot in the infield this season.”

Seneca’s top newcomers include junior Ryan Owens (outfielder) and sophomores Logan Pennington (outfielder), Ian Heffren (infielder/pitcher) and Dane Frossard (catcher/pitcher).

“Ryan is a good athlete that will compete for a starting spot in the outfield this year,” Yust said. “Logan is a sophomore outfielder that will give us depth at that position this year. Ian is a sophomore pitcher/infielder who will compete for playing time and give us valuable innings on the mound. Dane is an athletic sophomore pitcher/infielder that will compete for playing time and give us depth at those positions.”

Seneca hosts a jamboree with Neosho, Lamar and McAuley Catholic on March 8. The Indians open the season in the Wyandotte Festival on March 16.

Related Posts