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Goddard baseball relying on experience

By Joanna Chadwick

Well before the first game, Goddard baseball coach Jim Foltz planned to rely on his experienced players, such as Mason Healy and Coltin Watkins, who are four-year starters.

But veteran players been even more necessary than first planned.

“Our experience has been a huge factor in our season as we have had injuries and fewer numbers to choose from depth standpoint this year,” Foltz said. “We also have been able to extend our pitching depth with the senior class, a much-needed part for the expanded regular season we have taken on.

“Their leadership has been instrumental in filling gaps in our lineup, encouraging underclassmen in the proper ways to practice and modeling the hard work and determination needed to be successful in baseball.”

Seniors Blake Reed, Maddox Stevens and Isaac Tatro have been pitching, and Gage Bowker and Tatro hit in the middle of the lineup.

Pitching has been a strength.

Watkins is 6-1 with 77 strikeouts in 37 innings.

“Coltin has established himself as an All-Metro and All-State level performer on the mound,” Foltz said. “He also has grown into a valuable hitter in our offense, leading the team in hits (21) and RBIs (19).”

Stevens is 3-1 in his first varsity season and Tatro is 2-0 and has thrown 24 innings.

Goddard also relies on juniors Boston Arnold, Landon Kohlhorst (six saves) and Eastyn Vieyra.

“(They) have shown promise and growth this season,” Foltz said.

Austin Rudkin and Austin Winter also provide experience as both are three-year starters.

Winter, the catcher, overcame an early ankle injury and has been key due to his work ethic. Rudkin is a consistent hitter, who is usually batting leadoff or the three hole.

“(Rudkin’s) speed and consistent play-making in the middle on defense has provided stability as players rotate between positions and pitching,” Foltz said.

Healy, an outfielder, is hitting .408 after batting over .300 the previous three seasons. He missed the first five games with a calf injury.

“He is quick, has great instincts and covers the outfield very well,” Foltz said.

Goddard has a tough schedule, adding games with Kapaun, Carroll, Heights and St. James.

“Our division of the AVCTL has always been strong, plus Derby, Maize South and Hutchinson from Division I are quality programs,” Foltz said. “Picking up Kapaun, Carroll and Heights to fill our extra games this year was done purposely.

“Personally, playing the best and competing with those teams raises expectations and attention to detail, while requiring consistent work ethic. (As of April 24) we are 4-1 against the top three teams in 5A West. Our believe that we are able to play with anyone has grown.”

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