Experience should help Tecumseh's varsity baseball team win games

Mickey Alvarado

Tecumseh varsity baseball — Row one (l-r), Lukas Coker, Spencer Cowen, William Sparrow, Trey Mitchell, Jordan Patterson, Jakob Shadley, Aaron Luci and Drew Cameron. Row two, assistant coaches Will Kasper and Joe Linde, Tanner Fugate, Jakob Coker, Dylan Smith, Sam Benschoter and coach Tom Bullinger. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

There are only four seniors returning to Tecumseh’s varsity baseball team this season but coach Tom Bullinger isn’t concerned at all, saying he has lots of experience on the team. 
“We have four seniors, five juniors and three sophomores, so we’re not very deep,” Bullinger said. “But a lot of them have experience.”
 Out of the entire group, senior Sam Benschoter was the first to be mentioned by Bullinger. Benschoter signed a letter of intent last November to play for Michigan State University. 
“Out of the four seniors, Sam Benschoter’s got the most experience. He’ll be on the mound and playing short stop,” Bullinger said.
Tanner Fugate, another senior, played at third base last year but Bullinger is looking to possibly move him to first base this season. “He’s versatile where he can play both of those positions, and even pitch a little bit,” said Bullinger.
Senior Jacob Coker is an outfielder and the fourth senior, Dylan Smith, is an outfielder who will also pitch.
Three juniors who played last year return. Aaron Luci will pitch, play first and third; Spencer Cowen will now be the team’s catcher and can also pitch; and Jordan Patterson will be the main center fielder.
The other two juniors on the team are Jakob Shadley and Trey Mitchell. Both can be used as middle infielders and also play at third base if needed.
The three sophomores are Lukas Coker, who plays first base and pitches; Will Sparrow, who plays catcher, third base and pitches; and Drew Cameron, who’s an outfielder and pitcher.
“The good thing about this group is they can play different positions,” said Bullinger. “So, I think in practice we’re going to have good competition trying to battle each other to get playing time.”
Bullinger has had the team outside several times and said everything is looking good in the preseason workouts. 
“We definitely need more work but the kids are a hard-working group and it starts with our seniors. They’ve done a good job of setting a good example already. We’ll be ready. As we go we’re going to improve because of the way they work.”
The returning players have a bit of a sour taste in their mouths from last year, according to Bullinger. Last year the Indians ended their season with a loss in the opening game of districts.
“We really gave it to them in a way. We had too many errors and things we’ve got to clean up,” said Bullinger. “We pitched well last year so I’m thinking we’re going to pitch good this year. Joe Line does a great job with our pitching staff.”
The new ball field finally had a scoreboard installed and Bullinger wants to see it lit up with runs. He said it will be interesting to see who steps up to be the team’s big hitters.
“I think we have a lot of guys that are similar, so they can move around in the lineup. We might go with whose hot kind of thing up early.”
Patterson was Tecumseh’s leadoff hitter last year and Bullinger expects he’ll be right up front again. Bullinger said Benschoter was in the middle of the mix last year and fans should see him there again at a three or four hitter.
“We just need other guys now to step up because we lost [Alex] Muckensturm who was in the middle, and [Jeremy] Hatfield who was in the middle. We lost some guys that are going to be hard to replace so we’ve got to find that mix. So, we might look a little different.” 
He noted the power numbers probably won’t be the same as in the past but said that’s fine as long as they put pressure on the other team’s defense.
“I think we’re going to be faster,” said Bullinger. “We’re going to have more speed, so we’ll do it in different ways.”


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