Goat baseball season begins with need to replace pitching staff

By Putt Riddle,Special to The Groesbeck Journal (Stephen R. Farris also contributed to this story)

Groesbeck Goat baseball coach Cameron Sellstrom and assistant coach Cody Ashley who coaches the pitching staff begin the 2018 season with a big challenge: how to replace 98 percent of the pitching staff who led them to a 10-2 District 19-3A record and a 24-8 season record. That foursome which included Ellis Boyer, Mitchell Waller, Chandler Boyd and Kevin Montoya helped the Goats get to the regional quarterfinals. So the search is on to replace that group of pitchers. It was emphasized in a scrimmage against China Spring on Friday, Feb. 9, when Sellstrom posted on the dugout wall an inning by inning position assignment sheet which had eight different players each pitching an inning. Definitely the hunt is on for a starting rotation.

There is strength at other positions as five players return who are either two-year or three-year veterans with between 70 and 80 games on their respective resumes. All of them have All-District credentials; Mark Smith, Dylan Rand, Brayden Bradley and Grant Johnson. Smith was also named to the Class 3A all-state baseball team last season. Luke Bailey also returns. Sellstrom indicated that the other gaps to be filled are in the middle infield and two outfield spots.

Right now, everyone including the All-District returnees are battling for a spot on the varsity roster. That final roster will be set on Monday, Feb. 19, when the regular season opens away from home at Waco University at 7 p.m. Fans wanting to catch a home game at the Groesbeck field will have only one chance in the first month this Saturday, Feb. 17, when the Alumni game is played at 11 a.m. Otherwise fans can plan to hit the road to cheer on the Goats until March 16 when West comes here for a District 19-3A encounter at 7 p.m. The Goats play 11 consecutive games on the road during the period between mid-February and mid-March.

This week, the three coaches including Jeff Alley traveled to Robinson for a scrimmage on Tuesday, Feb. 13. They have 35 players vying for spots on the varsity and junior varsity squads. They are Luke Bailey, Zayne Fulmer, Bryston Ferguson, Zack Russ, Zack Wilson, Grant Johnson, Trey Hicks, Jake Pringle, Brayden Bradley, Dravin Barber, Dylan Rand, Mark Smith, Jacob Jones, Chody span, Colter Copeland, Devin York, Beau Pagel, Travis Stewart, Mason Zeman, Dalton Masters, Zac Ellison, Coker Holloway, Brant Latray, Colby Weihausen, Aaron Tyus, Kade Watson, Rip Jones, Kestler Sexton and Garrett Gruell.

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