Cascade’s strong baseball tradition is unlikely to skip any beats this summer as the Cougars are once again poised to be a dominant force in the River Valley Conference.
Although the Cougars did lose four key seniors from last year, this year’s team leaders know what it takes to win and will be instrumental toward the push to the postseason.
Sporting a 257-77 overall record heading into his ninth year as head coach, Roamn Hummel is predicting a top-three conference finish this year, anticipating Wilton and West Branch to be the biggest threats.
While the Cougars are returning five lettermen, Hummel believes depth could be an issue for the squad this season. However, they will have plenty of experience and competitiveness to draw from.
“We return a number of players from last year’s team, which was a sub-state finalist,” Hummel said. “Our guys have experience in big games and are ready to compete this year for another big run.”
Coming off a 31-5 overall record and finishing second in the conference at 16-2, last year’s squad kicked-off the year with a 23-game win streak but were eventually cut down by Oelwein in the post-season.
Drawing from last year’s success, a lot rides on five key seniors who will need to continue to peruse rolls a team leaders — Logan Otting, who was first team all-conference, district and state; Reid Rausch first team all-conference and second team all-district; Haris Hoffman first team all-conference and district, along with strong performances from Wil Roling and Riley Reed.
Otting, Rausch and Hoffman were the top three leaders in batting averages last year, with Otting leading the team in hits, RBIs and slugging percentage, Rausch leading in walks and Hoffman boasting a 6-1 record with a 0.63 ERA on the mound.
The Cougars are without Gannon O’Brien, Blake Simon, Brock Simon and Derek Koppes, but Hummel predicts contributions from up-and-comers Eli Green (sophomore pitcher/shortstop), Kaleb Topping (soph pitcher/outfield), Ted Weber (soph infielder) and Caden Reinke (senior pitcher).