Entering the 2016 season, the varsity baseball team has a lot of high expectations to meet. Not only are they ranked in the Top 20 nationally, but they are bringing back a plethora of high-caliber talent throughout the roster.
Jerrod Ryherd, who’s heading into his seventh season as head coach for the Lancers, believes this depth will matchup well against anyone in the state during the season.
“It’s unreal the depth our entire roster has, from the outfield to our starting pitching.” Ryherd said.
East features a balanced starting rotation that has received major support nationally, as four of the Lancers’ starting pitchers have signed to Division I colleges. Joey Wentz to Virginia, Jake Randa to Western Kentucky, and Luke Anderson to Missouri. Wentz will lead the way and is likely to be the staff’s No. 1 starter. The Virginia recruit will be in the spotlight all spring, attracting multiple professional scouts. To go alongside Wentz, the Lancers feature two 2017 grads that could follow in Wentz’s footsteps next season. Arkansas commit Zeb Vermillion is a 6-foot-5 175-pound RHP with a fastball in the upper 80’s, and Luke Anderson, a Missouri commit, is a 6-foot-1 160-pound RHP/SS with a fastball in the mid 80’s and shows the ability to defend and handle the bat.
Unlike years past, there’s no drop-off from the first three starters. The Lancers pose 6-foot-4 190-pound Henry Miller and Jake Randa to round out the pitching staff. Miller played first base on occasion and adds a lefty bat in the line-up. Randa will anchor down the outfield defense and will be another lefty bat in the middle of the order.
It’s not just pitchers that East can mix and match with. The Lancers feature seven worthy outfielders, Zeb Vermillon, Jake Ledom, Jake Randa, Matthew Erdner, Lars Troutwine, Jonah Watt, and Clayton Phillips.
Senior center fielder Matthew Erdner feels this depth will help the team progress and achieve the goal of winning the state title, something that hasn’t been done in 30 years.
“The pieces are put together to have a stellar season, so we just got play relaxed and win our games”. Erdner said.
Utility infielders such as junior Trevor Thompson, seniors Spencer Mustoe and Max Montgomery will also play a key role this season. Both will be asked to play several positions this spring for the Lancers.
Last season’s milestones
PLAYERS WITH 2015 POST SEASON HONORS
Joey Wentz- 1B/LHP, Class of 2016, Kansas Player of the Year
Jake Randa- OF, Class of 2017, 2nd Team All-State
Luke Anderson- RHP, Class of 2017, Honorable Mention All-State
Henry Miller- RHP, Class of 2017, Honorable Mention All-State
Zeb Vermillon- RHP, Class of 2017, Honorable Mention All-State