Braves want to lean on experience

Logan Elm Braves Baseball
Terry Holbert
2022 record: 10-15, 4-10 sixth in Mid-State League Buckeye Division
Returning starters: Junior Colton Eplin, outfield; Senior Blayton Reid, outfield; Sophomore Keegan Diehl, outfield and catcher; Senior Zack Parks, middle infield; Junior Kyle Rine, middle infield; Senior Gavin Griffey, first base, outfield and designated hitter; Junior Carson Summers, catcher and pitcher; Sophomore Grant Cline, first base and pitcher
Key newcomers: Sophomore Mason Gentry, pitcher and Sophomore Aaron Walters, utility

Logan Elm will be without the services of senior Braylen Baker, a first-team all-league selection last season and probable player of the year candidate, due to an ACL injury suffered during the fourth game of basketball season.

“Braylen’s loss is one we have to be honest about and say we’re going to feel it, because he’s an unbelievable player, leader and young man,” coach Terry Holbert said. “He’s turned into a player/coach and is working to help our guys in practice and being a leader on our team that way.

“No single player can replace what Braylen can do on a ball diamond, but I think we will see some players naturally improve with maturity, which will help us, along with being more creative in how we try to advance runners and score runs.”

While the Braves have a mixture of talent by class, overall, the team returns a lot of varsity experience.

“We have a good mix of guys with a couple of freshmen who could land some playing time, some sophomores and then our juniors and seniors,” Holbert said. “We want to take advantage of that experience.”

Holbert believes the Braves will still have some power, despite the loss of Baker, but stressed the team will need to be fundamentally strong.

“Gavin Griffey (second-team all-league in 2022) has a good stick and some pop and Keegan Diehl also has some potential to hit for power,” he said. “We believe we will also have some other contributors offensively, like Blayton Reid, Aaron Walters and a few of our other guys. It’s going to have to be a team effort.

“Overall, we want to be strong fundamentally with our approach at the plate and also excel when situations present themselves.

Carson Summers, an honorable mention all-league selection last season, Colton Eplin, Grant Cline and Mason Gentry will split up the innings on the mound.

“Carson and Colton are tough, gritty guys who will challenge hitters and throw a lot of strikes, which is so important in high school baseball. Carson will also be behind the plate and hit handle the staff when he’s not pitching,” Holbert said. “Mason should get a lot of innings on the mound and be a big part of the staff.

“Grant is one of our leaders and he put a ton of work in during the offseason to get bigger and stronger. He’s added velocity to his fastball and also worked on his other pitches.”

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