Rangers developing, growing together

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Forest Park junior Landon Nalley holds a bat during a recent practice in Ferdinand.

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — Pitching and defense are two cornerstones of a successful baseball team. Although Forest Park will field a young roster this season, head coach Jarred Howard believes in the Rangers’ arms.

“We have one of the best pitching staffs that we’ve had in a long time here this year,” Howard said. “We’re going to combine some pieces that go together at the field and at the plate.”

Gage Hasenour is the Rangers’ lone senior. Hasenour has pitched in Forest Park’s rotation since his freshman year, and the Rangers will rely on his experienced arm.

Juniors Drew Howard, Caden Scherer and Landon Nalley also provide seasoned options on the mound.

Sophomore pitchers Bryson Parteheimer, Clayton Weisheit and Keegan Abell join forces with freshmen hurlers Joel Bueltel, Sage Stout and Reid Howard in a deep underclassmen group.

“We have the types of arms to make a run in the tournament,” Jarred said. “We’ve got some guys that can flat throw it. To make a run in the tournament, you’ve got to be solid defensively and put the ball in play. If we take care of us and do what we can do, we’ll have a successful year. We could make a run in the tournament, but it’s going to be very tough.”

The depth doesn’t stop on the mound, as several more juniors can also contribute. Brody Klem will roam the outfield, Brody Kluesner will do his work behind the plate and Henry Hagedorn can fill several spots as a utility player.

Sophomores Landon Marks, Jaden Schuetter and Jacob Uebelhor can also play multiple positions.

Freshmen Trevor Berg and Ashton Cole are outfielders, while fellow freshman Carter Fleck gives the Rangers more catching depth.

Forest Park featured an experienced group last season, but the campaign was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The eager Rangers yearn to autograph their own story this year.

“If you rewind back to this time last year, we had a bunch of seniors that played for us,” Jarred said. “We were excited about the season because we had a chance to make a run in the postseason with our arms and returning players.”

This season, proceeding with caution is the name of the game.

“We have to be careful because we’re young this year,” Jarred said. “Our guys need to understand that we’re going to have some growing pains. It’s only going to make us better.”

Extra work in the summer and winter helped the Rangers coalesce.

Those workouts helped the squad alleviate some of the growing pains.

“We have a bunch of guys on our roster that played travel baseball growing up,” Jarred said. “We do have some guys that got to play last summer. Not all of them, but a lot of our guys did. In the wintertime, we had 10-to-12 guys in there hitting.”

Forest Park opens against Corydon Central at 6 p.m. on Friday in Corydon.

“It is a privilege to coach at a school like Forest Park,” Jarred said. “Not many people get this opportunity. The support that you have and the expectation that you’re going to win is something that’s special. The expectation is that we’re going to put a product on the field that’s going to win. If we’re not, we’re going to figure it out real quick.”




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