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Cannelton baseball team lacks depth

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By LARRY GOFFINET
Sports Editor

CANNELTON—Cannelton’s baseball team has some pitching experience but lacks depth as it prepares for today’s season opener.
There were only nine players on the roster Monday. But if the Bulldogs can avoid injuries that may be enough, as Coach Mike Garrett said these aren’t ones who will get into trouble or have grade problems.
Two girls, Mollie Ingle and Makayla Kellems, have expressed interest in joining the team if Cannelton does not field a softball team this spring. As of Sunday, there were still only six healthy girls interested in playing softball.
Of the nine boys on the baseball team, six lettered last year and five started in the sectional.
“Our pitching shouldn’t be too bad—that’s where we have the most experience,” said Garrett.
Tristan Simmons, the team’s only senior, is the No. 1 pitcher, said Garrett. He went 1-2 last year and “throws a pretty good breaking ball.”
Junior left-hander Jeff Kendall went 1-1 last year and “has a little bit of a natural tail on his fastball,” said Garrett.
Bryce Garrett (2-0) and Jayden Morris (0-2) are other returnees who had varsity decisions for last year’s 8-11 team. Sophomore Damon Powers will also pitch some.
Sophomore Bailey Maffia will catch after seeing some action there last year.
The infield “should be pretty solid,” with Morris at first base, Garrett at second, Simmons at shortstop, and Powers at third, Mike Garrett said.
Since those are four of the main pitchers, freshman utility man Jacob Peary will start in the spot of whoever is pitching at the time.
The Bulldogs’ lack of experience in the outfield concerns Garrett.
Kendall is a first-year starter in left field. Logan Northener, who is in only his second year of ever playing baseball, will start in left and Caleb Cravens, who has never played, will start in right.
As for hitting, “our top five shouldn’t be too bad,” said Garrett.
He said Simmons, “our best hitter,” will bat leadoff with Garrett second and Maffia cleanup.
Who bats third “will be hit and miss all year—it’ll depend on who’s hitting,” said Garrett.
Simmons, who “hit a couple of home runs last year,” is the team’s only power threat, said Garrett.
Bryce Garrett and Morris are the team’s best bunters, said Garrett. He listed Simmons, Powers and Kendall as the team’s fastest runners.
Cannelton was never shut out in the regular season last year and split a doubleheader with Tecumseh.
But the Bulldogs had two starters missing in the sectional and were no-hit 11-0 by Tecumseh.
Tecumseh and defending champion Northeast Dubois will be two of the top teams in the Class A sectional, which will be held at Cannelton this year.
“I’d say Dubois is the favorite,” said Garrett. “They have their top two pitchers back, including a lefty who throws really well.”
But by the time the sectional rolls around, Garrett thinks the Bulldogs will also be able to compete for the title.
“My goal is to get better as the year goes on,” he said.