By Tim Chambers
The forecast looks good for Johnson County baseball in 2016 just like the weather has so far. The Longhorns could find themselves in the thick of things with several key starters returning off last year’s squad.
Pete Pavusek returns for his 21st season as head baseball coach and he’s definitely excited about this squad. His team pulled off a huge upset over Sullivan East last season, one of many since the legendary Pete has been at the helm.
“We’ve had some good weather that has allowed us to be outside much more this year than last,” said Pavusek.
“We had a slow start last year and gave some games away that we probably could have won if that weather would have cooperated. It sort of handicapped us a bit in the early stages. But we’ve got a lot of work in this year that should help us overcome some of those early mistakes.”
That and some key returners has Johnson County on the upswing.
Nick Whitener (JR, .444), Peyton Fenner (SR, .362), Shane Greer (SO, .348) and Samuel Icenhour (SR, .321) are four reasons for Pavusek to smile. Another is senior pitcher Logan Sargent who compiled a 3.14 ERA and was 3-5 against the league’s toughest teams.
“It’s a new position for him but Peyton is one heck of a catcher,” said Pavusek. “I would take him over anyone. He blocked up three or four balls in tonight’s scrimmage and he’s got a strong arm which makes it tough for teams to run on us. Sam is as good a centerfielder as you’ll find. He’s a good leadoff hitter who understands the game and can run balls down. Nick hits the ball extremely well and he’s versatile on defense. He’ll play first, catch, pitch, third base and right field depending who is on the mound. Shane gives more speed in the outfield and he hits the ball well. He had a heck of a season as a freshman last year.”
Daniel Livorsi will man the third base slot while Bud Icenhour is expected to be penciled in at second. Alex Tressler is back out and is expected to start in right field.
“Daniel is just a solid player who you can count on to do things well that helps the team,” said Pavusek. “Tressler was a great pickup and pleasant surprise. He’s strong, fast and can run balls down. He gives us another stick in the lineup. We are hoping Bud can fill that void for us at second. He’s got all the makings to be a good player with some hard work.
Pavusek will rely on freshman Jayden Joiner to handle the shortstop job.
Jaiden is stepping up and getting it done,” said Pavusek.
“That has allowed us to move some of those key players into some really important positions.”
For more information pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.