Lindbergh baseball team off to solid start

By STEPHEN GLOVER

After struggling to a 4-22 record last season, the Lindbergh High School baseball team is off to a solid start with wins over Northwest (9-6) and Fox (3-2).

The Flyers (2-1) hope to learn from last year’s setbacks as head coach Darin Scott emphasizes that every day is an open competition for a starting job.

“First and foremost, we have a little more versatile team this year,” Scott told the Call. “It’s also an open competition, which has been good in that the kids are having to really compete for their jobs.”

Lindbergh’s leading offensive threat last season returns as senior shortstop/pitcher Zach Outman looks to improve on his .340 batting average. He drove in nine runs on 16 hits last year. Outman struggled on the mound last season with an 0-5 record with a 9.40 earned run average. His strikeout average of 5.33 a game was one of the best on the team last season.

“Zach was the leading hitter for us last year,” Scott said. “He’ll also be one of our workhorses on the mound this year.”

Also playing the infield this season will be senior second baseman Justin Schinsky, who carried a .270 batting average with eight runs batted in on 17 hits.

“Justin pretty much started every game for us at second base,” Scott said. “He should be pretty steady for us again this season.”

Junior Nick Higgs returns for the 2006 campaign. He’ll play third base and also see time on the mound. Higgs batted a solid .323 last season with nine runs batted in and a team-leading 15 singles. He was 2-2 on the mound in 2005 with a 4.47 earned run average and led the Flyers with 22 strikeouts.

“Nick became our No. 1 starter on the mound last year as a sophomore,” Scott explained. “He’s also one of our stronger hitters and he’s going to be looked upon to get things really going for us.”

Junior Robby Meeh will play first base. He batted .250 in just 12 appearances at the plate last year. He drove in one run on three hits and committed no errors.

“Robby’s a pretty good contact hitter,” Scott said. “He’s a guy that’s really going to have to come through for us this season.”

Junior Tom Henke will be the starting catcher. Henke had a .300 batting average in just 12 appearances at the plate last year.

“Tom had a pretty solid year for us last year,” Scott said. “He’s solid behind the plate and has some pop in his bat.”

Backing up Henke this season is senior catcher Pat Sexton, who’s playing his first season for Lindbergh. His first career at-bat against St. Mary’s last week was a single that drove in two runs with the bases loaded.

The Flyers have one returning outfielder, senior Greg Christ, who moved from left field to center field this season. Christ batted .217 with two doubles and two runs batted in last year.

“Greg started in left for us last year, and we moved him over to center field because of his experience,” Scott said. “He’s a contact-type hitter that’s solid in the outfield and doesn’t really make any mistakes.”

One player who will see time at several different positions this season is senior utility player Nick McKenzie. He carried a .214 batting average with four runs batted in on six hits last year.

“Nick’s going to be our utility guy this year,” Scott said. “He’s become a very valuable asset to our team this year in that he can play just about any position.”

Senior Zach Knott will see time on the mound this season as a relief pitcher and already is off to a solid start this season with a 1-0 record with a 0.00 earned run average in 2.7 innings pitched.

“Zach’s gotten a lot bigger and stronger this year,” Scott said. “We’re initially going to use him in relief and then maybe move him to a starting role later in the year.”

Junior Tim Eikmeier also will serve as a relief pitcher this season after going 1-1 last year with a 5.91 earned run average.

“Tim logged some pretty important innings in relief for us last year,” Scott said. “He’s the type of player that’s going to come in and throw strikes without much warmup.”

The Flyers are back in action at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday when they play host to Parkway Central.