Vian has seven starters back from a 26-13 team that lost in the regional finals against Metro Christian. Shortstop Landon Decker (.390, 40 RBIs) and pitcher Shawn Troutman (8-2, 2.16 ERA, 56 strikeouts in 55 innings). Catcher Dan Weer will be counted on heavily behind the plate.
“These seniors should be pretty hungry,” Wolverines coach John Brockman said, noting close calls by this same core group in football and wrestling.
Oktaha didn’t have their targeted starting lineup playing together until the postseason a year ago. The Tigers under then-first year coach Michael Adair ended up in the 2A quarterfinals, losing to Wister.
“If we stay healthy, we can get there again,” said Adair, minus five seniors from that team.
Lefty Jordan Webb started in that game. In the fall he shutout perennial power Dale 2-0.
He’ll have his battery mate in Caleb Shoemake, a .460 hitter in the fall after hitting in the low 300s in the spring. Justin Capps in left field (.370 fall) and Josh Bible position came off bench in state. Most welcome will be shortstop Austin Chandler, who sat out on the transfer rule as a freshman then injured his arm as a sophomore and ended up having Tommy John surgery along with a follow-up surgery for repairs to the original surgery. He has yet to play but Adair expects big contribution from him.
Nick Zodrow’s Tigers at have eight starters back from 2012 and appear in position for a run at a 5A state berth and possibly more. Houston Gladd was a sophomore in his pitching rotation and the junior is getting attention from both Oklahoma State and Stanford, among others. Gladd is a younger brother of Gunter Gladd, who played at Union and spent time in the Minnesota Twins’ system
“His fastball will hit the 90s sometime this season but the big thing about him is he’s got good command of about five different pitches,” Zodrow said.
First baseman Connor Mutzig (.410, 6 doubles, 7 stolen bases) will be an anchor in the middle of the batting order. Steven Wheeler had a 3.35 ERA as part of Zodrow’s rotation a year ago.