Wildcats relying on experience, consistent pitching for league title run
THREE RIVERS — The Three Rivers baseball team looks to score a few more runs this spring.
“Last year one of our issues was leaving guys on base. We need to eliminate that issue and score every time someone reaches base,” said third-year Three Rivers coach Kim Losik.
Three Rivers returns a solid foundation of players off a team that finished 14-17 overall, including a 5-13-1 mark in the Wolverine Conference.
Three Rivers returns 11 players from last year’s squad, including nine seniors.
“The biggest keys to our season are staying healthy and consistent pitching,” Losik said.
Three Rivers returns its No. 1 pitcher in senior Alex Minger.
Minger, a four-year starter, will also catch and play first base. He is also a team captain for the second straight season.
“Alex is a leader on and off the field. He has a higher velocity fast ball and a very good breaking ball. Behind the plate he is like a wall and does a great job handling the pitchers,” Losik said.
Also back are senior captains Carson Charvat (p, of) along with Justin Ochsenrider (2b, 1b).
“Carson is a third-year starter who has worked hard in the off season to improve his strength and his baseball abilities. He has great speed in the field as well as the outfield. He is consistent at the plate and provides a threat on the bases every time he gets on. He will also be called upon to pitch as he has improved his speed and control,” Losik said.
Ochsenrider is also in his third season on the varsity.
“Justin is definitely one of the leaders on this team. He has a great eye at the plate with consistent hitting and a very good defensive player in the field. He will also get a chance as a relief pitcher,” Losik said.
Senior Ryan Levandoski returns as Three Rivers’ No. 2 pitcher.
“Ryan has good control with a deceptive curve ball. He is getting more opportunity to play in the field due to his consistent hitting,” Losik said.
Levandoski also plays second base.
Another key returnee is senior pitcher J.T. Hack, also a third baseman.
Hack missed most of 2016 with an undisclosed arm injury.
“J.T. has worked hard to be ready to play hard and contribute to this year’s team. His bat will be an asset to the lineup as he does a good job putting the ball in play,” Losik said.
Other key senior returnees include Sam Hawkins (3b, ss), Austin Wright (catcher, of), Zack Ludwig (of) and Austin Krawczak (of, p).
Hawkins lets his actions on the field do all the talking.
“Sam is a silent team leader that has a very consistent bat and very consistent glove in the field,” Losik said.
Wright ranks as one of the Wildcats’ most versatile players.
“Austin does a great job behind the plate with an excellent release time to second base. He will be called upon to help in the outfield as well and has great speed,” Losik said.
Ludwig, who has already signed with Calvin College, is one of the fastest players on the roster.
“Zack has a good eye at the plate and covers a tremendous amount of ground in the outfield,” Losik said.
Krawczak is another player that is consistent at the plate and one with great speed.
“Austin will be called on more this year to pitch, primarily in relief,” Losik said.
Jalen Heivilin, a sophomore, returns after starting his freshman year at shortstop and pitcher.
“Jalen is a very consistent overall baseball player. He is always ready to play any position and ready to come in to relieve our starting pitchers with his knuckle ball. He has a great eye at the plate and good speed on the base paths,” Losik said.
Sophomore Gavin Charvat returns as Three Rivers’ starting catcher, a position he held last year as a freshman.
Please see Saturday’s Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.