MLB players may be locked out, but baseball is definitely back, as the Jackson Indians are getting stretched, prepped and conditioned to take the field once again. Last season, the Indians picked, pitched and slugged their way to a 22-9 record and are looking to take things even further in 2022. They were the Class 6 District runner-up last year and have their sights set on a District Championship in this one.
Ameritime Sports caught up with Head Coach Tatum Kitchen and picked his brain about this season’s roster and the expectations for the club. So without further ado, let’s get to know your 2022 Jackson Indians.
Graduated Seniors: Justin Moses, Chase Crosnoe, Quinton Dacus, Peyton Huckabee, Kaleb Garcia, Brendan Gallaher, Adam McClanahan & Austin Buck
Impact returning players:
Seniors: Logan Bruns, Will Richardson, Cameron Marchi, Kyle Richardson, Tyler Malugen, Cayden Drum & Owen Evans
Juniors: Caden Bogenpohl, Henley Parker, Quinton Borders & Clayton Ernst
Who do you see as being your top and key athletes this season?
“Our pitching staff was a strong suit last year, with our standouts listed below.”
Sr – Drum (P) 7-2 record, two no-hitters, All-Dist and All-Conf (Committed to STL-CC)
Sr – Bruns (P) 4-1 record (KICKING Scholarship to SEMO)
Sr – Marchi (P) 3-0 record, 1 save
Jr – Ernst (P) 4-3 record
“Our top offensive returners are:”
Jr – Ernst (1B-P) .381 AVG, 8 extra base hits, 15 RBI
Jr – Bogenpohl (OF-P) .364 AVG, 9 doubles, 3 triples, 4 HR, 27 RBI: “He will also be one of our top arms.”
Jr – Borders (IF-P) .310 AVG, 17RBI, 14 SB: “An outstanding defender who can play all infield positions well.”
Jr – Parker (IF) .312 AVG: “He was injured in game 7 of last year and missed the remainder of season. A smooth, athletic defender.”
Sr – Malugen (OF) 8 SB: “A great defensive outfielder with speed that makes him an asset on bases.”
Sr – Will Richardson (OF) .301 AVG, 8 Doubles, 4 Triples, 2 HR, 32 runs scored: “One of the best pitching arms in the state, returning from injury this year. Tremendous defensive Centerfielder.”
“Other Guys Who have starting experience:”
Sr – Kyle Richardson (C): “A leader and a very good defensive catcher.”
Sr – Carson Hartlein (OF): “Unfortunately he was slowed by injury last year.”
What are your expectations for the team this season?
“To compete at a high level. We have a tough schedule and we hope to use that to prepare us for the Class 6 postseason. We have a lot of physical talent, but we need to play to our abilities every game. Baseball is a long season. You can’t get too high or too low, and you have to stay the course and keep improving and learning as the season goes to prepare for districts.”
Are there any key games this season?
“It’s cliche, but they all are. We would like to be a perennial state-ranked team, but in order to gain that level of respect, you have to play well and take care of business consistently. It’s very much coach-speak but, the next game is the biggest.”
What are the strengths of this team, and what aspects do you think will be a work in progress?
“Our Pitching Staff has experience and arm talent. We also feel very good defensively. I feel like our offense has a high ceiling when we stay within ourselves and have a positive approach at the plate.”
Mention any other athletes you would like to say something about. Maybe some newcomers, or athletes coming off injury?
Jr –Baden Hackworth (P): “Util Transfer from Sikeston HS and committed to SLUH”
Soph – John Paul Sauer (P): “Missed last year with a knee injury from wrestling, but will be a top arm for us.”
Dylan Hayman (OF)
Jack Wyatt (IF)
Grant Dotson (IF)
Steven Scheider (OF)
Colton Hartle (OF)
Landon Watkins (IF)
Brady Fischer (C)
Kaden Kendle (P)
The Indians appear to be loaded, especially in the arms department, but they will have to execute along the way. Baseball is a fickle beast and consistency is key, so this Jackson squad will have to bring it every time they step on the diamond. But a District Championship and beyond is certainly within a viable scope of possibility.
Good luck Indians!