(Photo by Cindy Gaedrt Gearhart/TCJ)
There are still plenty of games left to be played this spring, but Maple Valley baseball certainly likes where they are at for this point in the season. The Lions are a perfect 8-0 to start the year, including two league wins.
“This year’s team has a lot of potential and talent,” head coach Bryan Carpenter said. “They need to keep working and getting better as a whole. We expect to push them to be better every day.”
Last year’s team finished 15-17 overall.
“We were a young inexperienced team last year that learned as the year went on and got better,” Carpenter said.
They don’t have a senior on this year’s team, but still look to feature plenty of talent.
Returning to the team are juniors Callan Hoefler (catcher, pitcher, first team all-regional), Chance Courtney (pitcher, infield, second team all-regional), Camden Carpenter (infield, pitcher, all-district), Ayden Wilkes (outfield) and sophomore Jakeb McDonald (first base, pitcher).
New to the team will be junior Connor Joseph (second base) and sophomores Noah Musser (third base, pitcher) and Jimmy Wiggs (second base).
“We have some team goals to win baseball games and get better,” Carpenter said. “We want to compete in our conference and improve along the way.”
As for the Greater Lansing Activities Conference, Carpenter had some thoughts as well.
“Olivet will be the team to beat in our conference,” he said. “Leslie will be strong as will Lakewood and Perry. We expect to be right there to challenge Olivet for the championship.”
Proof of the fact that the Lions might be right in the mix for the championship, is included in that undefeated start is a sweep over Leslie on April 11. They won two score games, 2-0 and 2-1 (eight innings).
“We are off to a good start to our season starting 8-0 and getting two big wins against Leslie to start our conference schedule,” Carpenter said. “We have work to do to get better and shore things up but we are off to a good start early this season.”