Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

April 17, 2014

Pirate leadership strong on diamond

By Nick Gonnella Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — For another season, the Greensburg baseball team returns its core to the diamond.

The Pirates, now 4-0 going into tonight’s conference game against Franklin County, look to continue a successful season despite seven seniors graduating.

Greensburg finished 15-6 one year after coming within outs of a state championship berth.

Last season, the Pirates fell one run short of advancing to the sectional championship game and are eager to atone for the early exit.

Lost to graduation are seven seniors and five regulars, led by four-year catcher Austin Schultz, an All-State Honorable Mention player. Tyler Burcham signed to play baseball at Parkland College, while Riley Billieu played football for Hanover this past fall. Also graduating were Jack Eberhardt, Elliott Green, Luke Kane and Kyle Moeller.

However, seven seniors return to lead a squad rich in tournament experience.

“We’ve graduated some guys who have contributed to the success of our program,” said Holdsworth. “This year we’re expecting the same with our guys and we’re excited about getting started.”

Holdsworth sees a team laden with battle-tested veterans who have postseason experience.

Seven players on the current roster played for teams that competed for at least a regional title. Four of them played on the state champion basketball team, while two competed for regional championships in tennis.

“We have guys that have competed in football sectional championships, tennis and baseball,” said Holdsworth. “They’ve been in the trenches and they’re been in the battles. Understanding how to compete and how to battle in those situations, that’s very important for a team.”

For four years, Greensburg’s middle infielders have started every game of their high school careers. Senior shortstop Macy Holdsworth and senior second baseman Collin Rigney, along with senior outfielder Andy Meadows the past two seasons, have anchored the Pirate defense. Holdsworth signed to play baseball at Indiana, while Rigney is going to play tennis at Ball State. Meadows signed to play baseball for Olney Central College.

“He’s been that same guy, especially at the plate,” said Holdsworth of Meadows. “The four starters up the middle for us have been a luxury for us to have. They’ve provided us with very consistent play.”

Senior Bryce Bennett is playing third base, while junior Josiah Buell is playing his first year as catcher.

Seniors Andrew Douglas and Jacob Kelso are seeing increased roles on the pitching mound. Rigney and Lawrence also have tallied innings on the hill.

“Pitchers have been pitching to contact, getting ahead of hitters, inducing ground balls and filling up the strikezone,” noted Holdsworth. “Fortunately, we’ve been able to do that so far. It’s something that’s been good to us. We’re fortunate to have guys do a real good job of concentrating on those areas.”

Also seeing time on varsity are senior run producer Devin Workman, a first-year varsity player, and juniors Brandt Ricketts and sophomore Austin Kane.

The Pirates can only hope to build on its fast start, thanks to strong fundamentals and maturity at the plate.

“We’re pretty pleased with our outcomes so far,” said Holdsworth. “Defensively, we have been very solid to start the season. We’re really excited about our defensive presence. We’ve played real clean defensively. Catching it and throwing it at a high level is very, very important.

Holdsworth looks to see the first-year players and underclassmen step up this spring.

“They might not be four-year starters, but they know how to compete,” he said. “We will have high expectations for them on the field.”

The Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference battle will begin tonight against Franklin County, which visits for a 5 p.m. game. Batesville and East Central, along with newcomers Connersville and Rushville, also will be top contenders for the EIAC crown.

“We’ll have to play clean baseball and we’ll have to manufacture some runs, but our guys are excited about that opportunity. These guys are up for that and getting into week two.”

Joining Holdsworth on the coaching staff this season are Mitch Sefton and John Rigney. The junior varsity squad is coached by Justin Tucker.

Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003; nick.gonnella@greensburgdailynews.com