DAYTON — A year ago, Dayton High’s baseball team could win a game by out-slugging an opponent or getting a well-pitched game.
The loss of Jessie Schmidt and Dylan Baker has changed that dynamic a little. Baker hit .372 and drove in 29 runs and Schmidt hit .461 with 33 RBI. Also gone are Nick Hein (.282), Mike Madson (.238) and C.J. Wilhite (.286).
The cupboard isn’t bare offensively. Jake Madsen hit .420 as a sophomore, Trevor Burrows hit .420 and Justin Schmidt hit .433. Zach Woitas hit .326.
“I think we’re going to have to win a lot of low-scoring games,” said Dayton coach Mike Burrows, who guided the Dust Devils to a 22-9-1 record and a playoff appearance last season. “We lost a lot (of offense).”
And, like every baseball coach in the region, Burrows has done the bulk of his preseason work in gyms, and that limits what you can do.
Burrows does have his top two pitchers back — lefty Trevor Burrows and Isaac Von Schoff. Both enjoyed outstanding seasons a year ago. Trevor Burrows, who’s headed to Williamette, a D-3 school in Salem, Ore., compiled a 7-2 record with a 1.28 ERA. Von Schoff went 5-0 with an 0.91 ERA.
“Trevor is looking good so far,” coach Burrows said. “He’s mostly just been throwing off to the side during basketball season. He hit 80 the other day, and that’s not bad for the first day out. Isaac can throw multiple pitches for strikes.”
After those two, there’s a drop-off. Freshman Tyler Stolfich is fresh off the basketball season. Cole Purdy appeared in nine games last season. Other pitchers include Daniel Hastings and Justin Schmidt, who made one mound appearance last season.
“The third games of the series are going to be slugfests,” Burrows said.
Micah Woodruff, up from the JV squad, is behind the plate. He has big shoes to fill, as Baker and Schmidt caught all the games last season.
“We have to keep him healthy,” coach Burrows said. “We don’t have a lot (of depth) at catcher. We have to lean on him.”
Sophomore Carlos Hernandez is at first. Von Schoff will play second when he’s not pitching, and when he’s on the hill, Madson moves over from third. Zack Woitas will start at short after two years at second base, and Madson and Colin Winebarger will split time at third depending on who pitches.
“Carlos is solid defensively,” the elder Burrows said. “We have to get him up to speed against varsity pitching. Zack will probably never come off the field. I talked Colin into coming out for the team, and he’s looked good. He broke his ankle a couple of years ago. He looked fine fielding the ball. He missed on a couple of swings off the tee, but started hitting the ball hard (after).”
Justin Schmidt is in left, Burrows will start in center when he isn’t pitching and Hastings will be in right. Stolfich will see time in center.
Burrows said the league is strong again, and the playoffs will run through Elko, Fallon and Spring Creek.
“Sparks will be down,” Burrows said. “I don’t know if Lowry is going to be any better than they were last year. Fernley is going to be good. There is going to be a good team that doesn’t make the top six and get into the playoffs.”