Knights need their younger players to grow up quickly | Baseball
The King’s baseball team is being built from the ground up.
The graduation of 10 seniors from last year’s district playoff squad coupled with some transfers means the 2017 Knights likely are the youngest team in the Cascade Conference.
Six of the 10 freshmen from last season, who are now sophomores, will join forces with seven incoming freshmen.
“We’re a young squad this year,” King’s coach Jake Beattiger said. “Only freshmen and sophomores. We don’t have any upperclassmen.”
The good news is that two of the freshmen – Tyler Durbin and AJ Knorr – are among the team’s best players.
“Those two guys should make a real big impact on our squad this year,” Beattiger said.
Durbin was a member of the Pacific Little League team that advanced to the Little League World Series three years ago. He’ll pitch and play third base.
Knorr brings versatility to the Knights. He can pitch, play in the infield and likely will be the team’s starting catcher.
“He can play all positions,” Beattiger said.
Two key returners include sophomores Isaac Hines and Luke Bobin. Hines is tentatively slated to start at shortstop, while Bobin will pitch and play in the outfield.
Beattiger doesn’t expect his team to have overwhelming power at the plate. Instead the Knights are going to have to manufacture runs.
“We’re just young this year. We’re going to do the little things that help us win ball games,” he said.
King’s young pitching staff is going to be facing teams with talented upperclassmen, so defense is going to be especially critical.
“Our pitchers are going to have hit spots. We have to make sure we locate our pitches well,” Beattiger said. “Our pitchers are going to get hit a little bit. Our defense is going to have to be our key this year. If we keep the runs down and squeak out a few runs, we’ll be able to compete in ball games.”
This marks the third year of the King’s baseball program and the team has advanced to the playoffs in the two previous seasons. The Knights finished sixth in the league but were third among the 1A teams with a 7-16 league record.
“We’re going to compete hard,” Beattiger said. “To go to the playoffs again would be huge for our program.”