The Princeton baseball team will be looking to take a step up in the Three Rivers Conference East Division baseball ranks this spring.
The Tigers return five everyday starters and nine players in all from last year’s team, which placed fifth in the league (6-5) and went 11-9 overall.
“We are in a very tough division but our guys are working hard and I look forward to seeing them face these challenges,” said fourth-year PHS head coach Wick Warren. “The TRC East is a tough division with Hall always very tough. E-P has a pitcher who has signed with the University of Illinois. Newman and St. Bede play well, and Kewanee and BV are young, but getting better.
“All that is to say PHS will have to play very well in those 12 conference games to compete for the TRC East title. That is our goal, for sure.”
Senior Caleb Alter is the most experienced Tiger at camp, having been brought up during his freshman year. He is ticketed to return as a starting left fielder. He was named First-Team All-TRC East last year, batting .344 with 13 runs scored and seven doubles.
Senior Noah Atkinson (OF/P) and juniors Noah Hoffman (OF/P), Jamie Reinhardt (2B) and Owen Rossler (1B/P) return for their third season with the varsity, with sophomores Ean Compton (P/OF/1B) and Bennett Sierens (IF/P) and junior Jacob Burns back for their second. Junior Drew Woolley (C/IF/P) also saw time with the varsity last year.
Rossler is known as the “Big O” and carries a big bat. He led the Tigers with a .407 average, 14 RBIs, five doubles and two home runs last year as a First-Team All-TRC East selection.
The Tigers have gained senior Brayden DeBates, who comes over from rival Hall and was a starting outfielder for the Red Devils’ state champions in 2018. He provides the Tigers with an arm (3-1, 2.13) and can play infield and outfield, batting .333 with 11 RBIs for the Red Devils a year ago.
“He is working hard to fill his role on our team,” Warren said.
Newcomers to the team this season are senior Braden Boyles (IF/P) and juniors Kaleb Cain (OF), Traysen Carlson (1B) and Eli Strawn (P).
Warren has an array of arms to choose from with as many as 10 able-bodied pitchers. The staff is headed by sophomores Compton, who has “great promise,” and Sierens, who Warren said, “I expect to develop into a top-level pitcher in the conference.”
“I expect our pitching to be solid, but we are a mixture of young or inexperienced,” Warren said.