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Pirates need pitching to handle seven doubleheaders

Matt Parker shares some thoughts with his players during a Verndale baseball practice session at Anderson Park. Parker is in his first year as head coach of the Pirates.

Matt Parker will be looking for plenty of pitching this spring as his Verndale Pirates look at seven doubleheaders over a eight-week season.

The new head coach of the Pirates has 13 players out led by seniors Clay Cottrell and Colby Schmidt.

Cottrell, a starter since his freshman year, will be moving out from behind the plate to share some of the pitching load. Parker will also use Cottrell behind the plate but realizes the workload will be a rugged one for his co-captain.

Schmidt, who swings a good bat, has good speed and will be roaming center.

Four of the six juniors on the team, Nate Bart, Mike Hejhal, Dustin Motschenbacher and Cody Yungbauer, will splitting time between the infield and the mound. Bart had two game-winning hits for the Pirates last year. Yungbauer is also expected to swing a good left-handed bat for the Pirates.

Juniors Shane Ollia and Isaac Schmitz are slated for duty in the outfield.

"We've got quite of bit of experience back," Parker said. "We're going to score runs this year."

Freshmen on the team are infielders Dallas Erhmantraut and Josh Gilb and outfielders Kasey Heinzen, Jake Engbretson and Ben Horstmann.

Parker expects Sebeka, Bertha-Hewitt and Menahga to once again field contenders in the Park Region Conference.