Community R-VI’s baseball team will be starting the 2018 season under new head coach David Matthews, who is being assisted by Jeff Angel. Matthews was previously a head freshman baseball coach at Fort Zumwalt South where his squad was just a little over .500.
This stint with the Trojans is his second on the varsity level.
Matthews did play four years of intercollegiate football in college as he attended Central Methodist and Webster University. He later also served as a seasonal assistant football coach at Washington University in St. Louis.
Matthews is taking over a young Trojans program that has just two seniors, four juniors, and several underclassmen making up this year’s lineup. Last year’s squad was 3-17. Matthews said his team, which didn’t win any EMO Conference games last season, will be focused on winning games in the EMO this year then pick up more wins in the postseason.
Community R-VI will be led by seniors Matt Gastler and Cordell Hollensteiner.
Both players will be key to the team’s success.
On the mound Matt Gastler will be the No. 1, Nathan Gastler will be the No. 2, and other pitchers include Evan Hartsock, Braedon Swaim, and Hunter Houghton.
To be successful, Matthews said the defense will need to make things difficult for opposing offenses. The focus is using a 9-on-1 philosophy so the pitchers don’t have to carry the entire load.
Houghton and Hartsock will be playing up the middle. Newcomer Justin Duenke and junior Nathan Gastler will be key on the corners.
The outfield is led by Klayton Bosworth, Swaim, and Hollensteiner.
“We need to play sound defense behind our pitchers,” he noted.
Offensively, he’s looking for his lineup to be aggressive and put pressure on the other team’s defense.
“We don’t have a lot of power so we’re emphasizing the idea of putting the ball in play and keeping the line moving,” Matthews noted. “We want to put pressure on the opponent’s defense by running the bases well, being smart while also taking calculated chances. I look to get some of our newcomers Landen Wright, Ethan Fort, and Wade Hester game time so they can contribute down the road. With only 13 players, Coach Angel and I are going to have to be very creative with our line-up until we get injured players, junior Eric Hombs and sophomore Danny Kuda, back. (We) look forward to trying to represent the ‘Community’ well this baseball season.”