PRINCETON — Wick Warren, first-year varsity head baseball coach at Princeton High School, has instilled a simple motto for the 2017 season — “Do Our Job” and get a little better everyday.
That approach will go a long way in how much success the Tigers have this spring.
The 2017 Tigers will be young with pitching and defense being the team strengths, Warren said.
“We will be young, but our pitching and defense should be solid. If we can get timely hitting and take advantage of opportunities given by our opponents, we should be fine,” Warren said.
Warren succeeds Tim Taylor as head coach, having served as pitching coach previously. He pitched for Auburn University and got connected with the PHS program when he moved to Princeton.
PHS junior Garrett Allen said the transition is going well with the team’s familiarity with Warren from before.
“Things are going well! Practice is good; we have been working on being a better defensive team. Our pitching is looking good as well,” Allen said.
Junior right-handers Allen (4-1, 1.83 in 2016) and Josh Reinhardt (4-0, 0.47) will head up the Tigers’ pitching staff that will include juniors Zakk Welsh, Cade Harrison and Christian Parry, seniors Vinnie Vergamini and Josh Eggers, and sophomores Conner Dickens and Braden Murfin.
With the new pitch count guidelines, Warren said he expects to throw several pitchers in each game early in the season.
“Over these early games, I expect the starters and relief pitchers to sort themselves out,” Warren said.
The Tigers will be versatile in the field with players capable of playing multiple positions.
Around the horn, the Tigers will line up with Welsh and Vergamini manning first base, Dickens and Harrison at second base, Parry and Allen at third, and Reinhardt and Dickens at short stop. Patrolling the outfield will be Beck Robbins, Harrison, Allen, Vergamini, Eggers and Braden Murfin.
Catchers will be sophomores Conner Alter and Robbins.
“I see the versatility of our team as a real strength. We feel very confident in the defensive combinations we can put on the field,” Warren said.
Reinhardt (.393) and Robbins (.259) return as the leading varsity hitters. Warren said his young guys have shown well in pre-season work and are ready to step up at the varsity level.
“The guys have worked hard to improve their hitting, and they are eager to get outside and play some games,” Warren said.
The Tigers saw Thursday’s season opener at Rock Falls cancelled. They also have Dixon scheduled for Saturday (1 p.m.) and Kewanee on Monday (4:30 p.m.), both at home.
Allen said the Tigers are anxious to play.
“Just ready to get this season going,” he said.
Tiger tales: Former Tiger standout Tim Forristall has taken over as the F/S coach, working with a squad of 15, including 13 freshmen.
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Tigers at a glance:
Coach: Wick Warren (first year).
Last year: (19-5, 11-2)
Conference (TRAC East).
March 16 at Rock Falls, 4:30
March 18 Dixon, 1
March 20 *Kewanee, 4:30
March 23 *at Kewanee, 4:30
March 24 at Sherrard, 4:30
March 27 *Bureau Valley, 4:30
March 28 at Ottawa, 4:30
March 30 *at Bureau Valley, 4:30
March 31 Morrison, 4:30
April 1 at Mendota, 11
April 6 *P/E, 4:30
April 8 at Orion, 11
April 10 *at St. Bede, 4:30
April 13 *St. Bede, 4:30
April 15 Riverdale, 11
April 17 *Hall, 4:30
April 18 *at P/E, 4:30
April 20 *at Hall, 4:30
April 21-22 at Wooden Bat Tourney
April 24 *at Newman, 4:30
April 27 *Newman, 4:30
April 28 Rockridge, 4:30
April 29 Midland, 10
May 4 at Fulton 4:30
May 8 at Stillman Valley, 4:30
May 13 IVC/Rock Lutheran, noon
May 15-18 Regionals, TBA
* TRAC East game