Pilot Grove’s Quint hopes to lead by example along with four other seniors

Chris Bowie
cbowie@boonvilledailynews.com
PILOT GROVE BASEBALL TEAM (front row, left to right) Gage Young, Tate Rentel, Hayden Sleeper, Justin Lawrence, Levi Jeffries, Waylan Christy, Alec Schupp and Hank Zeller. (back row, left to right) Head coach Joe Vossler, Bailey Quint, Luke Kollmeyer, Isaiah Quick, Bo Vinson, Hayden Krumm, Dylan Schupp and Grant Fricke, assistant coach. Not pictured are Dalton Reuter, Dade Christy and Jefferson Day.

Pilot Grove senior Bailey Quint echoed pretty much every player this fall in high school sports. He just wants to play.

A four-year starter for the Tigers, Quint will lead a mixture of players under first-year coach Joe Vossler for the 2020 season.

Although the Tigers had their season canceled in the spring due to COVID-19, Quint said the hope this fall is that the “Covid stuff” doesn’t keep the team from having a season.

“Going into the 2020 baseball season, our biggest goal is obviously to win conference in the fall, win districts in the spring, and hopefully make a run past districts,” Quint said. “I believe that our team is going to be very successful this year. We have a lot of young and competitive kids that just want to win. We have been looking pretty good so far this fall and everybody is anxious for that first game.”

Numbers shouldn’t be a problem this season for the Tigers. With 17 players suited out for the 2020 season, Pilot Grove also returns seven starters.

Pilot Grove will also get to defend its title in the CAC after finishing as co-champions at 4-1. Overall, the Tigers were 9-3 during the fall season.

Vossler said he is very optimistic about the upcoming season.

“With five seniors and two juniors filling some critical positions, we should have a good chance in each game we play. Our bench is pretty versatile, so they give us a lot of flexibility during the game. Our top four pitchers bring a lot of varsity experience, and our next two pitchers are capable of contributing some innings when we have more than two games in a week.”

As for Quint, he will be the one that leads the Tigers in pitching and offensively at the plate.

While hitting .381 last fall 16 hits in 42 at bats, Quint also led the team in singles (12), doubles (3), triples (1) and runs scored (9). On the mound, the senior hurler finished 3-1 with an ERA of .575. Quint pitched 24 1/3 innings and gave up just five runs on 15 hits and four walks while striking out 35 batters.

Quint said he believes by being a four year starter the rest of the team does look at him and the other seniors as leaders. “It puts some pressure on me and the others, but it’s nothing that we can’t handle,” Quint said.

With so much experience returning this season for Pilot Grove, Vossler said it will be important not to put too much emphasis on any one game. He said the players know there are some important games on the schedule, but they cannot let one loss spiral into the next game or two.

Vossler will also look to the senior leadership this season. He said most of the seniors have been contributing since they were sophomores or earlier, and they’ve had good mentors in the classes ahead of them.

“It’s a great atmosphere to see them passing their knowledge on to the underclassmen,”Vossler said.

As for the conference this fall, Quint said Cairo and Sturgeon seem to be the perennial favorites but the Tigers should be in the mix as well. “Although New Franklin graduated some important players, their younger players this year will be pretty competitive as well,”Vossler said.

As for the “Fab Five”, or the returning seniors, Vossler said Luke Kollmeyer will see playing time at shortstop and center this season along with junior Dade Christy. Vossler said both players will also see a fair amount of time pitching as well.

Christy finished 2-0 last fall with an ERA of 1.167 while pitching 12 innings, while Kollmeyer sported a record of 1-0 with an ERA of 3.889 in nine innings pitched. He also hit .276 with eight hits in 29 bat bats.

Dalton Reuter will also return for the Tigers at the catcher position. While hitting .250 last fall with seven hits in 28 at bats, Vossler said Reuter will be behind the plate for almost every inning. “Dalton all but stops the opposing teams run game,” Vossler said.

Rounding out the “Fab Five” are Dylan Schupp and Hayden Krumm, who Vossler said will play left field and second base, respectively. Krumm returns after hitting .281 last fall with nine hits in 32 at bats. He also tied for the team high in runs scored with nine. Schupp, meanwhile, batted .200 with six hits in 30 at bats.

“I think Dylan and Hayden will be good hitters and aggressive baserunners,” Vossler said.

Also expected to give the Tigers some pop offensively this season is junior Bo Vinson. While hitting .333 in the fall, Vinson finished with 12 hits in 36 at bats with a team leading three doubles and 10 RBIs.

Vossler said Vinson is a solid third baseman, who can hit for power in the middle of the lineup. “He will also be relied on in the pitching rotation,”Vossler said.

2020 PILOT GROVE BASEBALL SCHEDULE

9-1-ST. ELIZABETH, 5

9-3-PRAIRIE HOME, 5

9-10-at Glasgow, 7

9-11-at New Bloomfield, 5

9-15-STURGEON, 7

9-17-at Prairie Home, 5

9-22-at Jamestown, 7

9-25-at Cairo, 7

9-29-at Madison, 7

10-2-NEW FRANKLIN, 5

Note: Home games in caps.