WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley South returns a solid core of juniors and seniors, but they also lost a lot of varsity experience as well.
The Panthers return senior ace Jacob Bassler along with Chad Ehler, Austin Roell and Cody Roell. Junior Jared Cottingim returns to the roster as well.
But four-year starters Wes Cole and Todd French, three-year starters Josh Cottingim, Brandon Simpson, and Jason Utz, two-year starter Gunter Lautensleger and one-year letter winner Jesse Ehler are all lost to graduation.
It’s a lot to lose, considering the Panthers beat one-seeded Badin in the sectional semi-finals, handing them their first sectional loss since 1998. The program did produce a very good junior varsity team last season though, and head coach John Bassler is hoping to utilize several of those players to repeat last season’s success.
South hopes to ride that momentum and success into this season and Bassler hopes his five returners can help elevate the younger players on the team to achieve their team goals.
“With the group we have this year, pitching is a strong suit. Pitching needs to perform as expected, and the whole team play fundamentally as well as they can, and we will win a lot of games this season,” he said.
The team kicked off their season with a double-header at Madison and opened Cross County Conference play with a game at Arcanum on Tuesday, March 29. They are scheduled to have their home opener against Bradford on Thursday, March 31 before hosting Stebbins on Friday, April 1 at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, April 2, the Panthers will have a double-header with Preble Shawnee at Shawnee. The first game begins at 11 a.m.
Reach Jeremy Erskine at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.