|Bees Gearing up for Another Good Year|
|Written by Jim Dabbelt|
|Wednesday, 13 March 2013 00:00|
Bethel baseball coach Brett Brookhart will never forget last baseball season.
They rolled through the regular season with a 24-3 record, including the number one seed in the sectional tournament. That was the good part of the season. Then came the disappointment.
After such a great year, the Bees walked into their opening game of the post-season, and was stunned by Covington 5-3 to walk away with disappointment after such an early loss. “For such a great year, it sure ended in a disappointing way for us,” Brookhart said, as the Bees prepare for the start of the 2013 season.
Bethel has to replace six of those players who graduated, and with five solid players back, Brookhart hopes the wins continue this season, but losing that kind of talent is always tough. “We lost our second baseman, shortstop, centerfielder and catcher, so we lost everything up the middle,” he said. “All you can do is hope your young guys step up, but we have some good ones coming back that will hopefully do that.”
Three seniors return to lead the way for the Bees, including the likely number-one starter in the rotation Luke Beldman. “He was our number two last year, and went 7-1 for us,” Brookhart said. He throws hard, has a good curveball to rely on for his out pitch. Luke has improved every year, and has worked really hard with Frosty (Brown) in the summer.”
Also back is Mitch Siler, who came on strong at the end of the year last season. He played numerous positions last year, and will be counted on for his offense. “He hit around .400 last season,” Brookhart said. “He really got hot the last three weeks of the season, so I hope that leads into a strong year.”
The final key returning senior is Matt Bush, an outfielder last season who could see some time on the infield last season. He has recovered from a knee injury, and according to Brookhart is back and ready to contribute. “All three of those seniors played big roles last year,” the coach said.
Also back is junior Jordan Elam, who was the team’s leading hitter last season, and a second-team all-area player. “He hit close to .430 and is also one of our top pitchers,” Brookhart said. “He is a three-year varsity player, and has played at a high level in the summer. He is bigger and stronger and looks for a great year.”
Jilly Pelphrey and Nate Reese also return, as Pelphrey will likely be the opening day catcher, and will add to the pitching depth, while Reese is the returning first baseman, who also has shown up to the pre-season in better shape and will be counted on as a big number four hitter. “We always want compete for a conference title, but we really want to win a sectional this year,” Brookhart said. “We just need to go out and improve from day one.”
Bethel opens the season with a doubleheader on March 30 at Cross County Conference foe Franklin-Monroe, in a non-league contest.