STERLING – Top-notch hurlers, power hitting, and team speed should propel the Sterling Tigers to another successful baseball season this fall, head coach Brett Holmes said.
Sterling returns seven starters from last year’s squad which qualified for the fall and spring Class A state tournaments, including several pitchers that should dominate opposing hitters.
“My top five are pretty good and one through three are really good,” he said.
Leading the pitching staff are seniors Nate Anderson and Jayden Huitt.
“They’re both pretty tough,” Holmes said.
Other hurlers include Tyler Pierce, Riley Lile, Khaiden Gardner and Kayden Wilson.
Last year’s pitching staff had a combined earned run average below 3.00, which made it difficult for opposing teams to reach base and score, Holmes said.
Meanwhile, Sterling’s hitting prowess will continue with three players who hit above .400 returning and three more with averages better than .350.
“We hit it pretty good,” the coach said.
The combination of tough pitching and solid hitting has Holmes thinking this team can be a state tournament qualifier.
“I think we’ll be very competitive and will win a lot of ball games and have a great opportunity,” said Holmes, who is in his sixth season as Sterling’s coach. “Our goal every year is to get into the state tournament and win as many as 25 games.”
Sterling has been to the last three Class A state tournaments, including fall and spring. The Tigers lost 2-1 to top seeded Oktaha in the first round of last year’s fall state tournament.
“We will be as good as we were last year and maybe end up being better this year,” Holmes said.
Defensively, Sterling returns experience players at catcher, shortstop, second base and center field.
“You’ve got to be solid up the middle and we are,” Holmes said.
In addition, Sterling has better overall team speed which will prompt the Tigers to be aggressive on the base paths.
The Tigers play in the Arapaho Tournament Aug. 11-13 before returning home to face Geronimo on Aug. 15 and Verden on Aug. 16. Sterling will compete in the Fletcher Tournament Aug. 16-18.