DuBOIS — While the days of the Rubik’s Cube craze may be a distant memory, those who watch the DuBois Area High School baseball team this season may get a little bit of a glimpse of what it was like.
For those that may have missed it, a simple turn of a single row on the multi-colored cube could cause a multitude of changes elsewhere.
The changes for the Beavers will come largely because of their pitching decisions and those will dictate who goes where ... and when.
DuBois could go as deep as perhaps eight players on the mound but, at least to start, will likely lean on a core of four or five who saw action last season in seniors Jeremy Krise and Eric Schneider, juniors Dayne Bauman and Gauge Gulvas — who has given the Beavers a couple of good outings already this year in scrimmages — and sophomore Garrett Starr.
At first, that may seem to be rather innocuous, but three of the five are also scheduled to be contributors on the infield, including one that could fill in at as many as three positions.
“Pitching by committee could mean using two or three guys a game which means that there could be (just as many) position changes,” head coach Todd Stiner said.
That could also create other issues as well considering that the defense is still a work in progress.
“We still have a lot of question marks there,” Stiner said. “We’ve tried to work guys into different positions to see what the best pieces to the puzzle are going to be. But, as of right now, we’re still a little unclear on how that’s going to shake out.
“Still, the guys are working hard and that’s the important thing. The mistakes that we’re making right now are aggressive ones, so we’re getting there.”
As it stands, the Beavers will bring back seven of their starters from a year ago but they may not fit in the same places as last year.
Depending on the pitching situation, DuBois could line up with juniors Justin Swauger or Cullen Corle at first base with junior Jacob Mowrey also hoping to find some time there while Bauman, Starr or sophomore Chandler Ho could be at second.
Starr or Schneider are likely to be at shortstop while Swauger, Ho or Starr could be at third. Last year’s starting third baseball, senior Dylan McCluskey, is still recovering from an injury and will not play this year. McCluskey (.418 average) was the lone Beaver to his over .300 last year as the Beavers endured through a 4-15 season.
Senior Jordan Frano will do the catching.
In the outfield, juniors Heath Means and Chase Husted will likely start in right and center, respectively, while Krise or Ho could be in left.
With all the possible confusion in the field and on the mound, one of the bright spots has been the Beavers’ hitting.
“So far, the bats have looked good,” Stiner said. “Last year, we played 19 games and didn’t outhit a single team we played. That never amounts to good things.
“But, in the limited time that we’ve had this year, we’ve been hitting the ball well,” Stiner added. “We’re really stressing putting the ball in play. Good things can happen when you do that. Last year, we just struck out too many times. That makes it too easy for the other team.
“So, our biggest emphasis has been putting the ball in play and I think we’ve been doing that.”
Weather permitting, the Beavers will get a chance to see how well that works as they’re slated to open the season at home against Central Mountain this afternoon.
Seniors: Jeremy Krise, Dylan McCluskey, Eric Schneider, Jordan Frano, Jacob Getch. Juniors: Dayne Bauman, Gauge Gulvas, Heath Means, Jacob Mowrey, Justin Swauger, Ethan Spellen, Chase Hickman, Cullen Corle, Chase Husted, Klay Hendricks. Sophomores: Chandler Ho, Garrett Starr.
Sophomores: Nathan Farrell, Alex Colbey, Trenton Gaffney, Tyler Newell, Nick Farrell, Michael Orzechowski, Karson Fields, Cameron Passmore. Freshmen: Luke Shugar, Colby Estrada, Nate Tyler, Mitchell Drahushak, Austin Mitchell, Brycen Dinkfelt, Alex Pasternak.