PREVIEW: Pitching-rich Eagles return familiar coach

     There is a familiar face in the Midland baseball dugout this season.

     Josh Soper, who was the Eagle head coach for three seasons, from 2009 to 2011, is back at the helm.

     “It is an adjustment, but I am glad to be coaching again,” said Soper, who had coached at Monticello for the past seven teams.

     He is leading an experienced squad that has seven returning letter-winners from the team that went 16-13-1 in the 2018 season.

     “It’s an athletic group of kids who like to play baseball,” Soper said. “We have some solid pitchers and could be a good defensive team by the end of the season.”

     Six of the seven returning letter-winners have pitching experience, including juniors Alex Smith, Jensen Dodge, Wilson Buckwalter, Britan Martens and Sawyer Hansen; and sophomore Iziek Soper.

     Dodge posted a 3-2 record with a 3.21 earned run average last year. Smith had a 3.40 ERA, and struck out 40 batters in 35 innings. Buckwalter went 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA. None of the six allowed opponents to have a batting average higher than .221 last season.

     Senior infielder Brett Schoenherr is the other returning letter-winner.

     Offensively, Martens led the team in batting average with .337 a year ago. Smith hit .297 with team highs in doubles (nine) and runs batted in (20). Buckwalter hit .286 with six doubles and 19 RBIs. Dodge had two triples.

     “We want to continue to get better on a daily basis with the goal of playing our best baseball at the end of the season,” Soper said.

     Ryan Manternach, Ben Hildebrand and Jason Soper are the assistant coaches.



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