Huskies Strong Up Middle on Diamond
March 24, 2023 by Rich Kelly

The Cardinal Huskies baseball team had a solid, if unspectacular, season on baseball diamonds last season.

The Cardinal Huskies baseball team had a solid, if unspectacular, season on baseball diamonds last season.

Cardinal finished above the break-even mark with a 12-9 record that included a 5-5 CVC Valley Division record, built mostly on solid pitching, good defense and opportune offense.

That looks to be the same basic formula for Head Coach Greg Bean again this season. The Huskies are not loaded with numbers, with 19 players comprising the entire team. That said, the junior varsity schedule will play out with some varsity players with limited experience putting in time.

Most teams look for the strength of their teams to be up the middle on defense, and the Huskies are loaded in that area. Pitching will be a great place to start, and Coach Bean has a solid trio of starters who will rotate effectively between mound efforts and regular defensive positioning.

It all starts with senior righthander Jake Bean. His efforts in all Cardinal sports have been a great starting point for the Huskies, and as the ace of the staff, Bean, relying mostly on a dynamite fastball to mix with good breaking pitches, will keep opposing hitters off balance each time out.

He will be joined by another all-around great athlete in Troy Domen, a junior, and a solid three-man rotation will be capped by junior Logan Strever. When not on the mound, that trio will find itself at first base, shortstop and center field to provide the Huskies with quickness and athleticism up the middle.

That concept will be completed behind the plate by junior Jackson Puruczsky.

Third base will be handled by sophomore Carter Tucker, and the outfield will have sophomore Austin Jones in right field and senior super-athlete Josh Soltis holding down the fort in left field.

Senior Trent Mooney, then, will supply solid consistency at second base.

Reserves include senior infielder Aaron Pestyk, senior outfielder Eric Rought, sophomore Matt Hissa and freshman Blake Stever on the infield, and backup catcher Hunter Gresch.

Cardinal’s only foreseeable problem might be similar to last year’s edition: producing runs.

“I think we’re going to be similar to last year in a very competitive CVC Valley Division,” Coach Bean said. “We played well against some really good teams last year. In going 5-5 in the division, we beat a good Harvey team twice and lost to a very good Grand Valley team twice; otherwise, we split with everybody. Our biggest problem was in producing runs.

“We’re not a bunch of big boppers, but we can hit in situations and we have decent gap power on offense. With the defense we have up the middle, I think we’re in a good position to compete every time out once again.”

Coach Bean said CVC teams from the north provide some closer games to play, but Cardinal expects to be “right there near the top.” He predicted Edgewood would be the toughest team they’d face.

“They’re always good anyway, but you can see from the successes their basketball team had this year that they are loaded with good athletes once again,” he said. “It’s really important to have our core players back again this season. With a solid rotation like I have to work with, depending on who starts on the mound this season, I will be able to put just about the top trio of pitchers in place and still have good players in the field that will maintain the core of what we have to work with to succeed.”

Teams that are all too familiar with the exploits of Soltis, Domen, Bean, Mooney and Strever in other sports will take the diamond against the Huskies this season knowing they had better not let down their guard at any time. This core of players, no matter where they are in the Cardinal lineup, will put the ball into play on offense, run the bases with speed and ability, take the extra bases when opportunity knocks, and even hit the long ball on occasion.

Playing solid defense up the middle in unison with solid pitching, the staple in any good defensive setup, should propel the Huskies to the top of the CVC once again.