Eagles' heavy hitters look for return to state

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Purdy Eagles baseball squad will be looking for a repeat this season. The Eagles qualified for state play last year, with a 17-9 record, and advanced all the way to the state quarterfinals before being eliminated by state runner-up Houston. Purdy hopes to not only return to the playoffs, but go even farther this season.

The Eagles' strength this year will definitely be in their bats. Purdy returns seven starters and four lettermen from last year's squad.

"We return almost all of our offense, and we should produce more runs than last year," said Purdy head coach Josh Hughes, who is assisted by Stuart Lombard.

Mason Roller will lead those returning players. The junior was a second team All-State selection last year as well as a first team All-District and All-Conference pick as a pitcher and first baseman. Roller batted .561 this fall and led the team with 27 RBI.

Ryan Veith will be another strong player for Purdy. Veith, a senior, will play outfield for the Eagles and last year garnered first team All-Conference honors. This fall Veith batted .472 with 19 runs and RBI.

Other returning starters for Purdy who received All-Conference recognition were Derek Dailey (SR-C/P), Josh Wiseman (SR-P) and Trent Goetz (JR-SS). Also returning for Purdy is Chris Bennett (JR-3B) and Daniel Barrientos (SO-OF).

Purdy also brings back four lettermen from last year's squad. They include: Jesse Webb (SR-1B), Caleb Willy (SO-OF), Daniel Burnside (SO-IF) and Derek Fulp (SO-C) and all hope to make larger contributions for Purdy this season. Cody Videmschek (FR-1B) is a top prospect for the Eagles.

Pitching will be the Eagles' biggest question mark this year. Purdy lost two of its regular starters from last year.

"We lost a lot of innings pitched from last year with graduation," said Hughes.

The Eagles do return Roller as a starting pitcher. The fire-baller helped Purdy last year by finishing out the state sectional game and starting the quarter-final contest. Roller had a 1.66 ERA this fall and tallied 17 strikeouts.

Wiseman also returns to the mound for Purdy this year. Wiseman did some relieving and spot starting last season for the Eagles. He recorded three wins this fall and had 22 strikeouts.

In addition to those two, Purdy will bring some fresh faces to their pitching ranks. Dailey will get some opportunities this season as will Riley Veith (FR-2B/P), Landon Terry (FR-OF/P) and Kevin Miller (FR-1B/P).

"We should be competitive every afternoon we play," said Coach Hughes. "We play the game the right way and work extremely hard every day."

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