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Spring sports preview: Oak Harbor High School baseball
Oak Harbor baseball coach Tyson VanDam will look primarily to his junior class to fill the huge void left by the graduation of last year’s talented senior class.
Eight regulars departed with the class of 2011 and four of those were three-year starters.
Compounding the loss, the lone returning full-time starter, Gabe Clark, is out for the year with an elbow injury, and a key reserve from last year’s team decided not to play this spring; both were two-year lettermen. Clark was the starting shortstop and one of the club’s top pitchers.
As a result of the losses, VanDam said, “There will be a lot of teaching going on this spring.”
Four lettermen do return: seniors catcher Sam Glavick and pitcher/first baseman Zach Zimmer and juniors catcher/third baseman Austyn Walker and pitcher/third baseman Jack Richter.
Glavick and Richter are the only two with more than 14 plate appearances in 2011. Glavick, a two-year letterman, hit .340 in 53 at bats, and Richter hit .190 but posted a .496 on-base-average with the help of 10 walks.
Richter is also the only pitcher to return who threw more than one varsity inning. He finished with a 5.88 ERA in eight innings of work.
Key newcomers, according to VanDam, are juniors Andrew Snavely, Grant Schroeder, David Kusnick and Mike Maletto.
Though inexperienced, this year’s team has promise. The group helped Oak Harbor place third in the state Legion A tournament last summer.
VanDam said the loss of 10 key players will “be tough to deal with on the mound and at the plate, but I really do expect to finish in the top half of the league and make our second consecutive district tournament.”
He added, “We…hope to have the junior class step it up this year.”
Oak Harbor, which was 14-7-1 last year, begins the season Saturday, March 10, when its hosts a jamboree with Stanwood and Lakewood at 10 a.m.