By STEPHEN GLOVER
For the Call
When the 2005 baseball season begins next week, a plethora of new faces will appear in the starting lineup at Lindbergh High School.
The Flyers graduated 13 seniors from last year’s squad that went 17-6 overall with an 11-3 mark in Suburban West Conference play before losing in the first round of the District 3 tournament.
“Obviously any time you lose 13 seniors, you’re going to have somewhat of a re-building process,” Lindbergh head coach Darin Scott told the Call. “We basically got a whole new group and it’s going to be interesting to see what they can do.”
Lindbergh returns six seniors for the 2005 campaign, but no one has a secure spot in the starting lineup.
“The key for this group is how well we play together as a team,” Scott said. “It definitely is an open competition this year.”
Senior pitcher Chris Horan returns this season after appearing in six games in 2004. The 6-foot-3-inch south paw started two games, posting a record of 1-1 with one save. He struck out seven while carrying a 5.92 earned run average in 13 innings pitched. Horan should appear in a lot of big games this season for the green and gold.
“Chris is a big left handed pitcher that has to rely on keeping the ball down and moving it around the plate,” Scott said. “He’s going to be looked to carry some big innings for us.”
Senior right-hander Justin Miller also will take the hill. The 5-foot-6-inch hurler saw limited time on the mound last season, appearing in seven games and notching one save. Miller stuck out seven in nine innings and mustered a 2.33 earned run average.
“Justin mostly relieved for us last year,” Scott said. “He’s a finesse pitcher that likes to challenge batters. He throws a lot of strikes and should be effective.”
Lindbergh senior Brian Tiefenbruck will juggle time between first base and the outfield after batting .350 last year. Tiefen-bruck slugged three triples and drove in three runs on seven hits.
“Brian’s a line drive hitter that makes nice contact with the ball,” Scott said. “He’s a quiet leader that leads by example.”
Jeff Wuch will man the shortstop position for the Flyers. The senior hit a stout .500 with a .625 on-base percentage in eight plate appearances last year. Wuch also drove in one run on three hits.
“Jeff’s a solid defender that’s not a flashy infielder, but he can make the routine play and that’s all that we ask of him,” Scott said. “He’s a guy who’s been waiting for his time to shine and he now has that opportunity.”
Senior David Eickmeier will start behind the plate. He was a backup last year.
“David’s a good defensive catcher that should be able to handle the pitchers,” Scott said.
Lindbergh senior Kevin Walk will play the infield and outfield for the Flyers after carrying a solid .333 batting average last season. Walk drove in one run on one hit in three appearances at the plate.
the outfield and defensively speaking, I would put him as one of the better outfielders around.”
Sophomore hurler Kevin Mahlher struggled in his one pitching appearance last season, allowing four earned runs in one inning, but is ready to take the mound this year.
“I think that he’s throwing the ball really well right now,” Kern said.
Sophomore Tom Case will switch between second and third base this season.
“He’s one of the hardest workers this year,” Kern said. “There’s still a lot of things he’ll have to learn, but he will end up being very good for us defensively.”
The Panthers play host to rival Oakville in the first round of the Lindbergh-Mehlville Tournament at 4 p.m. Monday.
“I think that its going to be a big game for both of us,” Kern said.
“If we end up playing our game, we can be competitive,” he said.