Steve Goodwin accomplished a lot as Sacred Heart’s baseball coach.
In his 14 years there, the Gremlins won three Kaysinger Conference titles and four district championships, made two trips to the state semifinals and won the 2006 state championship.
Goodwin’s replacement, Jaric Reid, was on that state championship team, and the Gremlins hope that Reid’s experiences keep Sacred Heart on a winning track.
Goodwin’s Gremlins went 14-5 and were district runner-up in his final year.
Reid has inherited a potent offense.
“We return a very talented and balanced offense,” Reid said, “but pitching and defense remain the keys to our success.”
The Gremlins lost their top pitcher from last season, Cale Spangler, who went 7-1.
Nik Langston will be asked to lead Sacred Heart’s pitching staff. The all-district pitcher earned some important wins down the stretch last spring.
For example, Langston struck out a career-high 14 batters and allowed one earned run in the Gremlins’ 4-1 district-opening win over Sweet Springs.
Conner Simon and Mason Kelchner will round out the starting rotation, and Caleb Tanguay will pitch in relief.
The Gremlins will have new corner infielders this season. First baseman and cleanup batter Caleb Morrison graduated, and third baseman Rock Curry is playing for Missouri Valley College.
Clint Spangler will take over duties at first base, although David Lorandi could push him for playing time. Langston will man third when he’s not pitching.
All-conference shortstop Tanguay returns but the second base job remains up for grabs.
Jackson Smith returns in center field, and Blake Nichols is back in right. Cody Schibi, Garrett Strange and Ben Smeltzer will likely see time in left field, as well as on the infield.
Kelchner will catch when he’s not pitching.
Four freshmen could see action, as well. Kolin Brace and Chance Spangler could pitch.
Brace and Brenden Volcko may get at-bats while playing the outfield. Brace, Chance Spangler and Jacob Smothers are utility infielders.