Tigers look to lean on offense, defense early

Circleville Tigers Baseball
Brian Bigam
2022 record: 16-12, 8-6 fourth in Mid-State League Buckeye Division
Key returners: Senior Matt Bradley outfielder and pitcher; Senior Scott Moats, infield and pitcher; Senior Angelo Travis, infield and outfield; Senior Parker Kidwell, outfielder and pitcher; Senior Nolan West, infielder and pitcher; Senior Logan Smith, infielder, outfielder and pitcher; Sophomore Drew Thornsley, outfielder; Junior JD Reuter, infielder and pitcher; Sophomore Austin Gray, catcher and pitcher; Senior Tate DeBord, infielder and pitcher
Key newcomers: Senior Keagan Piper, outfielder and pitcher; Senior Hunter Davis, outfielder and pitcher; Junior Ty Foster, catcher and pitcher; Sophomore Trent Smith, infielder and pitcher; Senior RJ Thompson, infielder

A key question for the Tigers entering the season comes on the mound, as they lost ace Nick Burns due to graduation and senior lefty Carsen Cox to elbow surgery.

Coach Brian Bigam will look to seniors Scott Moats and Logan Smith and junior JD Reuter to lead the staff.

“How we are approaching it with our guys is this opening up the door for another player or two to step up and help us out,” Bigam said. “Scott Moats had a lot of success last season on the mound, JD Reuter really came on and threw well late and then Logan Smith pitched a shutout last season against Bishop Watterson.

“Those are going to be three guys that we need to help lead us, but we’ll need a couple of other guys to step up and help us out. The big key, as always, is to consistently throw strikes. How well we can pitch is going to determine our success.”

With a bevy of returnees, including their entire middle defense, Bigam is hoping the Tigers can be strong defensively in support of their pitching staff.

“We have Austin Gray back behind the plate, Scott Moats, Nolan West and JD Reuter up the middle in the infield and Matt Bradley in center,” he said. “What we are stressing to our guys is just make the routine play consistently.

“If we can throw strikes consistently and make the routine play consistently, then I like our chances to have a good season.”

The Tigers missed the big bat of first baseman/designated hitter Tate DeBord during the latter part of the season and run to the district tournament.

With West (first-team all-league last season), DeBord (second-team all-league) and Moats (honorable mention all-league) to help lead the way, Bigam hopes the Tigers can improve their consistency on offense this season.

“We have the potential to have the best offense since I came back to coach,” Bigam said. “We have speed at the top with Scott Moats, Matt Bradley and Drew Thornsley and a lot of athleticism overall. Nolan West is a very solid hitter and then we have Tate DeBord and Angelo Travis in the middle and guys like Logan Smith, Austin Gray and Parker Kidwell who will follow the middle of our order.

“Offense can come and go during the season, but we hope if a guy or two goes in a slump that we can weather that overall as a team. We may also need to lean on our offense a little out of the shoot until we can get our pitching staff figured out.”

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