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Pitching development is key for West Central Area Knights

Developing a pitching staff is one of the key components for the West Central Area baseball team this season as the Knights come off an 0-18 finish in 2012.

"Not all successes are measured in wins," said head coach Brandon Gruchow. "Although the record didn't show much growth or improvement, the team continued to improve throughout the season.

"Pitching is 90 percent of a baseball game and is something the Knights' team is still developing.

"Errors and no runs scored were an every-game occurrence, but the team kept pushing and looking forward, and little by little, there were fewer errors and runs [were] being scored."

Lost from last year's team were four players, but the Knights return their most valuable hitter in senior outfielder Alex Anderson and their most valuable pitcher in Chuck Grenson.

Along with those two seniors, West Central Area will return seniors Carter Duncan, Spencer Ilstrup, Cole LaValley and Tyler Holl.

Two juniors, Andrew Lindor and Sean Mickelson, as well as sophomores Jay Zimmerman, Devin Nelson, Brandon Cloose and Reed Peterson are also returning.

"One of the greatest highlights of [last] year was a game that went into extra innings with top-ranked section team Brandon-Evansville," said Gruchow. "Although the Knights lost, they did score eight runs in the first seven innings and played the best defense all year.

"We have a young team eager to have fun and play baseball," he added.



SENIORS - Alex Anderson, outfield; Carter Duncan, catcher; Spencer Ilstrup, third base; Charlie Grenson, pitcher/first base; Cole LaValley, outfield; Tyler Holl, outfield.

JUNIORS - Andrew Lindor, outfield; Sean Mickelson, outfield.

SOPHOMORES - Jay Zimmerman, pitcher/first base/outfield; Devin Nelson, outfield; Brandon Cloose, outfield; Reed Peterson, outfield.

FRESHMEN - Jake Larken, catcher; Buzz Miller, infield/pitcher; Jordan Beauckens, infield/pitcher; Ben Anderson, first base/pitcher; Gideon Morris, outfield; Jake Winningham, outfield; Rylee Peterson, outfield; Blake Amundson, third base; Austin Cloose, outfield.

COACHES - Brandon Gruchow, head coach; Chris Shea, assistant coach; Eric Schoenbauer, assistant coach; Jon Moore, assistant coach.