Indians already eyeballing end of season
By MICKEY ALVARADO
Recording an all-time varsity baseball win record last year was great for Tecumseh High School but just not good enough for varsity Indians’ baseball coach Tom Bullinger. He’s hoping his Indians do well during the regular season once again but is focusing on his team at least advancing to the district championship final.
Last season the Indians set a new school win record of 29-6 overall but were eliminated with a 10-9 loss against Chelsea in the opening round of districts.
“We had the most wins in school history but at the same time we lost our first game in districts,’ said Bullinger. “I would much rather trade that a bit and go further in the post-season.
“I have high expectations, just like last year,’ Bullinger added. “This year we have a great group of kids who work hard. I’m real excited about the season.”
Tecumseh has a solid group of eight seniors with two returning starters including Eric Eldred and Jacob Britt who both joined the varsity squad as sophomores.
“We’re really looking on them to be our leaders,” said Bullinger.
The Indians are stacked with pitchers. In addition to Eldred and Britt, Bullinger will look to returners Phil Carey and Nick Cowen and first year varsity senior Andrew Wood.
Cowen was one of the Indians top pitchers last season. Wood is expected to give Tecumseh a bit of an edge as a left-handed thrower.
Eldred is expected to be catching behind the plate more than out on the mound.
“He was our back-up the last two seasons,” said Bullinger. “It’s too bad he had Jared Powell in front of him, because he’s a very good catcher. This year he’s going to be catching 90 percent of the time.”
Grant Anschuetz was brought up from the junior varsity squad to be the back-up catcher.
“Pitching is going to be our strength,” said Bullinger. “We are very deep in pitching.”
There is still a bit of uncertainty as to who will cover the infield bases. That will be worked out in the next few weeks however Bullinger has Spencer Adams returning to the short stop position while Ben Vannatter will replace his graduated brother at second base.
“At third and first we’re still trying to find out who it will be,” said Bullinger.
Battling for third base are senior Eric Heavener and Michael Savoia and junior Phil Carey.
In the running to cover first base is Wood and possibly Carey.
“In the outfield we’ll be strong too because we have three guys coming back,’ said Bullinger.
Britt, Cowen and Casey Hunt will be returning to the outfield positions.
“Those three guys will be out there and two of them pitch, so I’ll find another guy to put out there and back them up,” Bullinger said.
The coach said he brought up a couple of others from the JV squad that will potentially fill the back-up outfield slot.
“I’ve got the same coaching staff that I’ve had the last three years, on varsity, Joe Lindy and Al Schmidt, same JV coaches in Freestone and Casper and our same freshmen coaches. So, I’m lucky to have the guys I have. They do a great job.”