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Hornets baseball gunning for return trip to state tournament | White River Baseball Preview
Graduation took a heavy toll, but veteran coach Mike Williams still figures his White River High baseball team is embarking on a successful season.
Kicking things off this weekend, Williams has a roster than includes four returning starters and others who have contributed to the varsity cause.
Thing is, a lot of players are going to have to step their game up a notch.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who have been good players, but have to step into a whole different role,” Williams said. Kids who have been role players in the past need to grab the spotlight and emerge as team leaders.
Williams is confident he has players ready and willing to assume command.
“They’re going to make a run at getting back to state this year,” he said. “That’s the plan.”
A state tournament appearance had long eluded White River, which produced plenty of successful seasons but always fell short of making the state’s Sweet 16. Than changed last year when the Hornets finally reached prep baseball’s Class 2A promised land.
In gearing up for a return trip, Williams first looks at his quartet of returnees. Right-handed pitcher Zach Rohrbach was the team’s second starter a season ago and now moves into the No. 1 role. He’ll be throwing to sophomore catcher Riley Johnson. Junior Dustin France will patrol center field and Matt Salisbury, a three-year starter, will command one of the corner outfield spots.
Others penciled in to the starting lineup are junior Trent Buchanan at shortstop, senior Cody Cloud at second base and junior Sean Klapperich at third.
At first base, the competition remains open to see who holds down the fort until starter Nick Whitmore bounced back from illness.
The frontrunner to be the No. 2 starter is Ryan Kolisch, who didn’t play high school ball last season but was part of the summer program.
Under Williams, the Hornets have been known as a club that is willing to bunt and likes to steal bases. That type of offense may be on display more than ever, as this year’s club doesn’t possess the explosive power that last year’s squad had, but has considerable speed.