Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

August 24, 2013

Fall preview Windsor/Stew-Stras co-op looking for more 2013 success

WINDSOR — The first year of the Windsor/Stew-Stras baseball co-op couldn't have gone much better for the Blue Devils, as they advanced to the Super-Sectional round before bowing out.

Now, with much of the core coming back, they're hoping to add a National Trail Conference championship to that first-year resume.

There's a new man at the helm as Rodney Monbrum took a new job, and now new coach and Windsor athletic director Mike Taylor takes the reins to take a shot at the NTC.

"I feel like we've got a good chance in the conference," Taylor said. "The upper-level teams are pretty competitive. You're going to have to have a number two pitcher, a number three pitcher. You can't really count on one arm in a conference with schools that are traditionally pretty solid.

The Blue Devils graduated three seniors, with Gunner Theis' power bat leaving the middle of the lineup. Aaron White and Ben Helton also graduated from the pitching staff, leaving Taylor to find the aforementioned second and third pitchers.

If he has to rely on one pitcher, there aren't many better in the area than Christian Vonderheide. The senior was an IHSBCA All-State member, and went 9-1 with a 0.93 ERA last year.

He also hit .392 in the middle of the lineup with a .551 on-base percentage, and will anchor the offense and the pitching staff.

"He's pretty impressive," Taylor said. "I've been fortunate to coach some good players over the year, and he's really special."

Working behind Vonderheide in the rotation will be Alex Allen, who didn't pitch much during the spring, and newcomer Devin Deremiah will bring a lefty to the rotation.

Still, Taylor's keeping plenty of arms fresh and plenty of options open to pitch, and it will all come down to efficiency.

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