Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 17, 2013

2013 Golden Circle High School Baseball Preview

By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun

Blooming Grove Lions

Matt Anderson

Years at school, record: 8, 80-50-3

2012 record: 12-9-1, 7-5 in 14-2A

Last playoff appearance: 2012, bi-district finalists

Key returnees: 3B/P Shane Battenfield, Sr.; P/1B Jacob Conger, Sr.; P/3B Dalton Blake, So; P/SS Daniel Pelzel, Jr.

Key losses: C/P Gage Anderson, OF Spencer Morris

Analysis: The Lions returned to the playoffs last year for the first time since 2009, falling to Palmer in the first round ... Defense should be Blooming Grove’s strength this year ... Pelzel didn’t make an error last year at shortstop as a sophomore and also had 0.84 ERA pitching in relief ... Battenfield, all-district pick, made only two errors at third base and also had a 4-2 record with a 2.76 ERA ... Team speed should be improved with the addition of Travis Whiteside and Jacob Williams ... Whiteside will leadoff and play center field after catching in sub-varsity ... Blake had a superb freshman season with a .300 batting average while also going 3-3 on the mound with a 3.87 ERA ... Conger batted .317 last season.

Mildred Eagles

Aaron Tidwell

Years at school, record: 5, 93-35

2012 record: 17-13, 10-2 in 14-2A

Last playoff appearance: 2012, regional quarterfinalists

Key returnees: P/SS Nic Shimonek, Sr..; 3B/P Connor Hill; OF Raleigh Seilheimer, Jr.; 1B Jase Butler, Jr.; 2B Colby Pair, Jr.; C/INF Allen Knight, Jr.; DH/P Clay Waller, Jr.

Key losses: C Daniel Folsom, IF Daniel Donoho, OF Mason Rose, P/3B Eric Lewis

Analysis: The Eagles as always are a playoff contender ... Shimonek is the leader now, coming off of a 2012 season in which he was the 14-2A MVP ... he batted .463 with 3 HRs, 10 2Bs, 5 3Bs and 32 RBIS and was selected Golden Circle Offensive Player of the Year ... Shimonek also was 9-3 with 1.29 ERA and 77 strikeouts ... there are three All-Golden Circle picks to replace ... Seilheimer batted .333 with 19 RBIs and 14 SBs ... Hill, Butler and Pair were all all-district selections.

Rice Bulldogs

: Pete Harris

Years at school: 4, 18-41

Last playoff appearance: 2012, bi-district finalists

2012 record: 6-15, 3-3 in 14-1A

Key returnees: P/3B Eddie Pena, Sr.; P/LF Junior Pena, Sr.; CF Ragan Henderson, Sr.; P/SS Codie Pair, Sr.; P/2B Nathan Bowling, So.

Key losses: P/3B Ty Cantu

Analysis: The Bulldogs shift into a difficult 2A district that includes Mildred, Teague and Blooming Grove ... Rice has a senior-laden team led by pitchers Eddie and Junior Pena ... Rice returns six starters off a team that lost to Hubbard in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

Kerens Bobcats

Jayson Engel

Years at school, record: 12, 74-79-1

2012 record: 15-10, 10-4 in 19-1A

Last playoff appearance: 2012, bi-district finalists

Key returnees: P/OF Brett Anderson, Jr.; 2B D.J. Camp, Sr.; INF Shelton Sayles, Jr.; OF Zach Duncan, So.; C Dylan Woods, Sr.; P Michael Kline, Sr.; OF Kevin Townsel, Sr.

Key losses: C Colton Ware, 1B Carlos Solis, OF DJ Woods

Analysis: The Bobcats have made consecutive playoff appearances ... Kerens has a lot of experience back, even with the loss of three seniors ... Anderson was an All-Golden Circle pick after batting .558 and posting a 3.04 ERA with 57 strikeouts ... Kamp batted .451 and was the district defensive player of the year ... he’s committed to Vernon Junior College ... Duncan batted .354 and was a second-team all-district pick ... Woods was a first-team all-district pick and batted .333 ... Sayles was a first-team all-district outfielder and batted .297 ... Kline was a second-team pick batting .269 ... Townsel batted .333.

Dawson Bulldogs

Bo Moore

Years at school, record: 1, replaces Allen Somwang

2012 record: 21-8-1; 8-2 in 13-1A

Last playoff appearance: 2011, area finalists

Key returnees: P Trent Underwood, Jr.; C/P/3B Mark Martinez, Sr.; DH Jake Strother, Sr.; P Jared Gray, So.; INF/P Louis Lachney, Sr.  

Key losses: 2B Slade Chasteen; CF Nathan Blair

Analysis: Dawson has plenty of pitching, and new Bulldogs coach Bo Moore will bring an aggressive style to the game, especially on the base paths ... Strother batted .407 last season ... Martinez, an All-Golden Circle selection, had a .330 average with 28 RBIs and 28 runs scored and was 6-3 with a 2.69 ERA ... Underwood is one of the top pitchers in the area with a 6-0 record and 0.97 ERA ... he also batted .413 with 27 runs scored and 21 RBIs last year ... Gray was 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA and batted .315 ... Lachney was 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA and had a .324 batting average.

Wortham Bulldogs

Gary Beam

Years at school, record: 1, replaces Shane Doege

2012 record: 20-11, 10-2 in 13-1A

Last playoff appearance: 2012, area finalists

Key returnees: P/CF/3B Kyle Goerner, Jr.; P/C Chris Lee, Jr.; 2B Devin Sessions, P/CF/3B Brandon Campbell

Key losses: P/SS Trace Shirley; 1B Ty Williams; P/OF Cooper Warren

Analysis: The Bulldogs tied for the 13-1A district title last season, beat Avalon in bi-district and losing to Trenton in two close games in area ... the Bulldogs should be a strong defensive team, especially on the infield ... Lee was a first-team All-Golden Circle pick at catcher last season, batting .468 with 29 RBIs, 9 2Bs and 5 3Bs ... Sessions batted .285 ... sophomore pitcher Cole Jendel is a top newcomer.

Hubbard Jaguars

Sam Scribner

Years at school, record: 4, 23-45

2012 record: 12-13, 7-5 in 13-1A

Last playoff appearance: 2012, area finalists

Key returnees: 3B/P Hudson Alderman, Jr.; OF/P Trey Henderson, Jr.; SS/P Casen Martin, Jr.; 2B/P Logan McClinton, Jr.; OF Josh Freeman, Jr.; P/1B Ty Graves, So.  

Key losses: C Cole Hill; P/OF Chad Caldwell

Analysis: The Jaguars made the playoffs last year, beating Rice in the bi-district round ... Hubbard returns seven starters ... Martin was a first-team all-district pick, batting .431 with 26 runs scored ... Henderson was a first-team all-district outfielder ... Alderman, McClinton and Freeman were all second-team all-district picks ... Freshman utility player Braydyn Gillham and freshman outfielder Kyle Lester are top newcomers.

Frost Polar Bears

Heath Blalock

Years at school, record: 1st year, replaces Eric Blenden

2012 record: 3-9 in 13-1A

Last playoff appearance: 2010, bi-district finalists

Key returnees: P/SS Jacob Stroder, Sr.; P/SS Robert Worley, Sr.; C Lane Harrington, Sr.

Key losses: None

Analysis: Blalock takes over for Blenden, who his coaching football and basketball ... Frost returns all nine starters ... Stroder was the 13-1A Pitcher of the Year, averaging 6 strikeouts per game ... The Bears should have a solid 1-2 punch with Stroder and Worley working to Harrington.