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Batesville Pioneers focus on speed, defense

By Emily Van Zandt

This article was published March 10, 2013 at 5:00 a.m.

Now in his ninth year as head baseball coach, Mark Rush knows that hard work will pay off for this year’s team.

“We’ve been working since December, and the kids know the program and what we expect,” Rush said.

Along with assistant coaches Kelly Rush and Matt Wentz, Rush guided the Pioneers to a 19-10 record last season, which Rush said he hopes to exceed through use of speed and defense.

“These kids are all pretty athletic in the outfield,” said Rush, who noted that a number of players on the team are also football players and have kept up with strength training through the year.

One area of concern for the team is the depth of the pitching staff, which Rush said has many capable players, but they’re fairly inexperienced.

Expect returning players Kenton Crawford and Blake Van Winkle to have big years after training hard following football season.

Looking to catch a rivalry match? Coach Rush sees Greene County Tech as one of the top teams to beat this year.

Best Hitter for Average: Sophomore Kenton Crawford, a returning starter, and senior Wesley Rudd both stand out for their athleticism as mutli-sport athletes with aspirations of playing baseball in college.

Best Power Hitter: Senior Timmy Rush has been injured for the past three years, including a back injury last year, but coach Rush sees him providing a lot of power if he stays healthy. Crawford is also known for hitting for both power and average.

Best Speed: Rudd and Crawford, along with junior Bryce Bishop, lead the team in speed.

Best Fielder: Senior Joe Maurer will return as shortstop after a big growing year last season. Coach Rush describes Maurer as “long and lanky with a great reach and range.”

Best Arm: Senior pitcher Landon Gillmore is known for his curveball and should see a good number of innings this season. Senior pitcher Mason Neaville will also be relied on for his improving fastball

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