A year after a successful season which saw the Harrison Raiders baseball team finish 24-9 and pick up a sectional championship, the team looks forward to doing it all again this year.
“We want to carry over our success from last year,” said senior Evan Francis. “We want to win sectionals again and also compete for a regional championship.”
Although they know that winning at the same rate while replacing a strong senior class which lost nine strong senior contributors on the varsity roster, the team is looking forward to the challenge.
The team will look to a strong performance out of their pitching staff to replace the excellent pitchers that graduated last year, including Matt McConnell, a Division I athlete now pitching for the Mustangs of Western Michigan.
Joining him next year will be current senior and shortstop Carter Bridge who has already committed to the Mustangs.
The Raiders know they will be able to get a great offensive performance from Bridge any time he gets to the plate. Bridge led the team last year in average (.379), plate appearances (112), runs (31), hits (36), doubles (8), and triples (4). Bridge knows he will need just as strong of a performance this year if the team wants to accomplish as much, if not more than last year.
“I want to be all-conference again, but I really want to be all state this year,” Bridge said. “I think already committing to college will make me less tense when I play, and I think I will be able to play smoother with less pressure. The team just needs to keep fighting as hard as we did last year, and I think we can win another sectional and maybe more.”
Part of the platoon replacing McConnell will be Leighton Mennen, a senior pitcher who last year had a sparkling 1.71 ERA while pitching more innings than everyone but McConnell. Mennen looks to have a strong performance along with a strong performance by the rest of the pitching staff so that they can replace some of that production.
“This year’s staff will have a mixture of experience and inexperience, and I think as a group we have to come together and really work on getting the ball across the plate and letting our defense work,” Mennen said. “If we can accomplish that, the sky is the limit for us.”
With a confident pitching staff and a strong offensive effort, the team should be able to have another strong year this year and continue bringing home the hardware for Harrison.