MORRIS — If pitching is the name of the game in high school baseball, then Morris should be in line for a successful season in 2019.
Head coach Todd Kein feels the Redskins have as deep a staff as they have had in quite a few years, and he hopes that will translate to a successful season.
"We have a nice blend of experience and newcomers," Kein said. "With the talent level we have in the pitching staff, we are excited to get going and see how we do."
Leading the rotation will be senior Jacob Overbeck, who was selected as captain, along with Patrick McCabe, Alex Cameron and Chatten Dryfhout. Overbeck went 5-4 last year with a 3.69 ERA.
"Jake got called up when he was a freshman to start a regional game for us, and he got the job done," Kein said. "We knew we had something with him, and he has been with the varsity ever since. Not only is he a very good pitcher with good stuff, but he is a good mentor to the younger guys on the staff. That experience and what he can share is going to be very valuable for us."
Another senior, Luke Olbrot, also figures to be heavily involved in the rotation. Sophomore left-hander Cody Bledsoe and junior lefty Zach Reddinger also look to be starting pitchers for the Redskins.
"Luke has always had good stuff," Kein said. "He was down some last year with an injury, but he is healthy now and looks really good so far. Cody and Zach are both very talented, but they will need to learn how to pitch on the varsity level. With their talent, they should be able to make the jump."
Other pitchers on the Morris staff will be Cameron, Evan Briones, Cole Laurie, and Logan Edwards.
McCabe, a senior, will move from behind the plate to shortstop, while Edwards figures to start at either third or first base. Brandon Phelps will also compete for an infield job, while Overbeck will most likely play second when he's not pitching.
The outfield is deep, with Cameron returning as a starter. Others competing for outfield time will be Reddinger, Dryfhout, Briones, and Laurie, with Bledsoe possibly playing first base.
Catching will be sophomore Owen Burns.
"This is as deep an outfield as I have ever had here," Kein said. "We have a lot of guys that I have no problem putting out there defensively. They can all run well, they make the plays and they have good arms. It will come down to offensive production as to who plays.
"Owen is a young, able-bodied catcher and it's nice to have a chance to groom him. He is a technically proficient catcher. He blocks the ball very well. He needs to work on his arm, but we will do that, and he will get better as he learns our system."
With the pitching and defense in good shape, Kein is looking forward to seeing how the offense produces. Unlike many seasons, the Redskins will feature a lot of left-handed batters and a lot of speed.
"We have more guys up and down the lineup that can drive a ball into the gap," he said. "We've always had a few, but this year we have more. And, we have a lot of speed, so we can put runners in motion and make other teams make plays.
"Too often the last few years, we saw what I called wasted pitching performances because we just didn't score enough runs. I think we will be able to score more this year and that should help us out."