Trojans look to climb conference ladder
Southwest young, but eager to start baseball season
The Trojans of Southwest enter the 2015-2016 season after a 8-9 campaign with four returning starters and looking to climb to the top of the Ozark 7 Conference.
"We need to find more pitching in order to be successful this spring," said Kenny Ferguson, Southwest coach. "We are getting better defensively but still need to improve. We hit better at the end of the fall season, but overall, we need improvement. We have the players to get it done, but they need to take ownership and expect it from themselves.
"This is a great group of guys who have all played roles on successful teams. They just now need to step up and take bigger roles for us to succeed."
Returning for the Trojans this season are: Garrett Hobbs, Paton Clay, River Fields, Robbie Randall, Landon Wright, Jacob Wolf, Brent Anderson, Tanner Leonhardt, Levi Moore and Jay Fields.
Hobbs, Clay, River Fields and Randall all started for Southwest last season.
Hobbs is coming off ACL surgery and is expected to be cleared for action by the season's start, according to his coach.
"Garrett was batting .667 in the fall before he went down," Ferguson said. "He plays a solid third base and will need to rack up some innings on the mound for us."
Clay will play at short stop for the Trojans.
"Paton has started as our short stop since his freshman year," Ferguson said. "[He] hit .241 in the fall and had a nice season on the mound. We need a higher batting average from him this spring and to just continue to build on what he did this fall on the mound."
Fields hit .478 last season, but cooled off with a .192 performance in the fall.
"He needs to revert back to last spring at the plate," Ferguson said. "River has become a very good first baseman."
Randall hit .268 in the spring, and Southwest needs him to be more consistent at the plate.
"McAuley [Catholic] and Purdy look to be the top teams in our conference," Ferguson said. "But, any of us, including Wheaton, Exeter and Verona, can knock them off."
Southwest opens the season on Monday in the Sarcoxie Tournament.