What at times became a hindrance for the 2019 West Monroe baseball team will undoubtedly become a strength for the 2020 squad.
That is if all goes according to plan.
West Monroe tried 17 different arms on the mound last season with many of those arms being freshmen. And at times, certain players threw like freshmen. But because of the gained experience, along with some exciting summer league ball performances the past couple of months, the Rebels should be in good shape on the mound in 2020.
“Gage Breithupt, Austin Achord, Lane Little, Case Roark and those guys who pitched a lot for us last year went off to play in different leagues, which gave us an opportunity to develop some younger pitchers,” West Monroe head coach Wade Simoneaux said. “A welcomed surprise was Peyton Todd on the mound. He has turned himself into a quality arm throwing downhill. As did Kade Pittard, who had a really good summer on the mound. Drew Blaylock did too. I think we’ll be better on the mound because of the experience the young ones got last year.”
Though the pitching is in much better shape heading into next season, the Rebels admittedly lost some pop in that lineup with players like Tom Biggs, Carson Jones and Chase DeJean now entering their college baseball careers. But Simoneaux believes there’s an opportunity to be just as good production-wise. And that starts at the top with the return of Josh Pearson.
“Every time I see a highlight video on Twitter from the Louisiana Knights or MLB, he’s hitting one over a fence over the top of the netting,” Simoneaux said. “He’s had an unbelievable summer.”
As a freshman, Pearson crushed eight home runs a season ago.
But he’s not the only weapon returning to West Monroe’s offense. Senior slugger Cayden Pierce will be one of the heavy bats in the lineup next spring, while Tanner Young, Reed Eason, Logan Shurden and Alex Sikes look to build off of what Simoneaux called productive summers.
“We lost some of that pop, but I like our lineup as much as last year,” Simoneaux said. “We’ll be in the thick of it. We just have to get them together and get them to play together as a team.”