One look at the list of the returnees made it easy for coaches to tab Oak Park as the preseason Suburban Big Six baseball favorite.

One look at the list of the returnees made it easy for coaches to tab Oak Park as the preseason Suburban Big Six baseball favorite.
Truman and Winnetonka tied for second in the poll followed by Park Hill, Park Hill South and William Chrisman. A coach couldn’t rank his own team
A new champion is assured as the 2008 champion Lee’s Summit has moved to the Suburban Big Seven.
Bubba Dotson, Sam Campbell, Derick Holmes, Elliott Velasquez, Wes Rambaugh, Alex Birgenheier and Danny Deis return from a 19-11 Oak Park season, which included a third-place finish in the Class 4 state tournament and a fourth place finish in the Suburban Big Seven.
“We would like to make a return trip to the final four,” Oak Park coach Troy Andrews said. “Pitching will be one of our strong points this season. We have four guys back who had half of our innings pitched last season.
“Again, our overall team speed will be good to put pressure on teams with our baserunning. Our weak point early will be at the plate with only two guys who hit above .300 last season at the varsity level.”

TRUMAN
The Patriots are hopeful of continued success after a 16-10 season and third-place Big Six finish at 6-3.
Returnees are Ian Barker, Kyle Clifton, Kyle Gehrs, Josh Felz, James Hayes and Vinnie Smith. Newcomers competing for starting jobs are Dillon Amaya, Mitch Kilpatrick and William Nesbit.
“We will be young and inexperienced in some areas with only three seniors on the squad,” coach John Eglich said. “We will need to find some consistent pitching behind Gehrs. Offensively, Gehrs and Clifton get opportunities to produce with runners on base.”

WINNETONKA
New coach Brett Jones has lettermen Chris Fitzpatrick, Anthony Davis, Jesse Semanko, Deron Staten, Nathaniel Horton, Tommy Powell and Chris Egorugwu returning from a 14-11 team (7-3 second place in conference).
“We have a strong core of returning starters and on paper should be pretty strong,” said Jones. But we have to show up and play”

PARK HILL
Park Hill could be the conference’s most improved team.
Eight letter winners – Erik Johanson, Chuck Malaporte, Alex Mead, Daniel Noroyon, Jacob Sullinger, Daniel Jesson, Alex Otto and Clay Smith – return from an 8-14 team.
“We will be an experienced team with six full-time starters returning,” coach Greg Reynolds said. “Two-year starter Sullinger leads the pitching staff with many players competing for the No. 2 and No. 3 staring roles.”

PARK HILL SOUTH
The Trojans move to the Big Six after finishing third in the Middle Six at 6-4 and 8-12 overall.
“This team will be one of the most well-rounded teams in school history,” new coach Nick Rogers said. “We are deep talent-wise and have a very strong sophomore class that will be fighting for playing time.”
Returners are Nick Bamber, Tyler Smith, Billy Liams, Frank Passilla, Andy Holder, Matt Robaska and Anthony Berardelli.

WILLIAM CHRISMAN
The Bears come off a tough 3-17 season, including 0-11 in the Big Seven.
But moving to the Big Six and returning letter winners Dustin Collins, Stephen Dooley, Dalton Drummond, Eddie High, Kyle Jackson, Dante Jones, Matt Lickey, Nick Mullendore, Mason Murphy, Jo Jo Taisi and Korey Stucker mean hopes are high for an improved season.
“Our returning starters have been putting in a lot of time in the offseason improving their skills,” coach Justin Woods said. “Our strength will be our experience. We are returning 11 players from last year’s varsity team. Our weakness will be our lack of pitching depth. We will need some young pitchers to contribute.”

HOW COACHES VOTED
School                        1    2    3    4    5    TP
1. Oak Park                4    1    0    0    0      6
2. Truman                   1    2    1    1    0    12
    Winnetonka            1    2    1    1    0    12
4. Park Hill                  0    1    3    1    0    15
5. Park Hill South        0    0    1    2    2    21
6. William Chrisman    0    0    0    1    4    24