Prep Baseball & Softball

PREP BASEBALL PREVIEW: Mount Baker Mountaineers

Coach: Derek Johnson

Last year: Finished 13th in the Northwest Confernce with an 0-12 record. ... Ended season after going 0-2 during the Class 1A District Tournament, finishing 1-20 overall.

Players to watch: Colton Ranson (sr., INF/P); Carson Schmidt (sr., INF); Chad Cohn (jr., INF); Thomas Barbo (fr., OF); Zandy Zander (fr., INF/C); Jesse Wardle (so., INF/P)

Outlook: Mount Baker is playing with just one team this spring after only 20 kids came out, and 11 of those 20 are freshmen. But new coach Derek Johnson is exciting to see what some of the young players can offer. “They are a group of kids that just love baseball and are hard-working kids,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “The young guys are going to be the building blocks.” Still, the Mountaineers have several key veterans who’ll help dictate the team’s success. Johnson is expecting to get a lot of production out of senior pitcher, shortstop and leadoff man, Colton Ranson, who’s coming off a great basketball season. Junior first baseman Carson Schmidt provides strong defense and should develop into one of the team’s top hitters, and junior Chad Cohn provides another arm and strong bat. Freshmen who could make an immediate impact are center fielder Thomas Barbo and Zandy Zender, who is in a position battle for a middle infield spot. A major focus for Baker this year, Johnson said, will be winning the close games. Last season the team had seven losses by two runs or less. The Mountaineers hope to turn those defeats into wins this spring.