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DailyTidings.com
  • BASEBALL

    Pilots have depth, pitching

    Ashland two deep at every position, has plenty of arms ready to go for American Legion A season
  • Loaded in the pitching department, experienced in the middle infield, fast in the outfield, the Ashland Pilots may have the pieces this summer to get back to the American Legion A state tournament.
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  • Loaded in the pitching department, experienced in the middle infield, fast in the outfield, the Ashland Pilots may have the pieces this summer to get back to the American Legion A state tournament.
    Or not.
    Head coach John Wallace isn't quite ready to make any bold predictions. But that doesn't mean he doesn't like what he's seen so far, including a season-opening doubleheader split against the Grants Pass Miners on Sunday.
    That's because unlike the last two seasons, depth does not appear to be a problem in Ashland, at any position.
    "What we have now on this Pilots team is really our core coming in for the next couple years," Wallace said. "This is the new wave coming through, and it's a good group of kids that loves to play baseball, and they're really talented. Hopefully, we can build on that together."
    Ashland, which beat Grants Pass 6-3 and lost 8-6, continues its 32-game summer schedule Friday at North Medford. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at North Medford High School.
    While the Pilots don't have a bona fide shut-down ace on their pitching staff, they have plenty of quality arms. Kyle Milgram, brothers Jerry and Jesse Carroll, transfer Caleb Bell, Nick Sanderson, Chris Buckley and Matt Flynn all are expected to see action this summer, as will Noah Falkner and Tyler Clary.
    Milgram, who will be a senior in the fall, is the most experienced pitcher on Ashland's roster after going 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA for the Ashland Grizzlies during the spring. He pitched 25 1/3 innings for the Grizzlies, and also batted .419 in 31 plate appearances.
    Jerry Carroll, another senior to be, and Sanderson, a sophomore, are the only other Pilots' pitchers who have seen varsity action, but the others have plenty of junior varsity experience and are expected to share the load.
    "We're just going to be on a rotating schedule," Wallace said. "We're not going to be saving guys for certain games. Everybody's going to get their fair share of innings."
    Defensively, Ashland is two deep at every position. Jett Hamik will start behind the plate, but Jesse Carroll and Nate McLennan will rotate in as needed.
    Aaron Scott will start at shortstop, where he played the previous two springs for the varsity team, and Shea Scott will also play there occasionally. Jose Perez, another varsity starter, and Bell will trade off at second.
    Milgram will start at third when he's not pitching, with Chris Buckley and Jacob Heckerman also taking over occasionally. Sanderson, Flynn and Jake Hansen will be the first basemen.
    Wallace loves the versatility in Ashland's infield and believes that having so many interchangeable parts will come in handy as the season goes on.
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