Vikings to rely on pitching in early going

Teays Valley Vikings Baseball
Mark Colburn
2022 record: 16-8, 10-4 second in Mid-State League Buckeye Division
Key returnees: Matthew Farmer, pitcher and infield; Landen McFarland, catcher; Ben France, catcher and pitcher; Hayden Wells, pitcher/infield and Ivan Smith, first base
Key newcomers: Jeremiah Fabbro, infield, outfield and pitcher; Wesley Henderson, outfield; Tommy Sites, outfield; Grayson Orahood, outfield and pitcher; Landon Vandegrift, infield and pitcher; Trevor Hamilton, outfield and pitcher; Tyler Mathews, infield and pitcher; Brody Mann, infield, catcher and pitcher

The departure of 12 seniors from a team that finished tied for second in the league last season has left the Vikings with minimum experience batting against varsity pitching.

“We lost seven or eight guys from our lineup last season and probably have about 20 varsity at-bats with our limited returnees, so we are going back to basics offensively until we can get our guys more experience at the varsity level and figure out the type of team we will have offensively,” coach Mark Colburn said. “We have some speed and athleticism, so we will likely have to manufacture some runs, at least in the early going.”

Matthew Farmer, a Marietta signee, and Ben France, a Malone signee, will lead a pitching staff that will also Hayden Wells and Landon Vandegrift, among others.

“Our seniors threw some tough innings last season in relief, where we feel comfortable on having them become a starter or remain in relief,” Colburn said. “We’re going to depend on our pitching to lead us early on and keep us in games, along with what should be a solid defense behind them.

“One of the things we work on with our pitchers is throwing eight strikes out of every 10 pitches, establishing their fastball first, and then working on throwing our off-speed pitches for strikes.”

Landen McFarland returns behind the plate to handle the pitching staff.

“It will be nice to have Landen back behind the plate to handle our pitchers and be a leader on our team,” Colburn said. “Having an experienced battery will be one of our strengths as a team this season.”

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