Effingham High School's baseball team may have to wait a while for its season opener.

The Hearts are scheduled to open season play Wednesday by hosting Vandalia in a 4:15 p.m. contest. Of course that will have to wait until the weather decides whether it's spring or winter.

The Hearts are a senior-dominated team this spring but according to Coach Chris Fleener, there will also be some younger players ready to step up and contribute.

"Last year we lost some very good players such as Zach Miller, Chad Ohnesorge, Andy Hoffman and Brad Hecht, all who went on to play college ball," said Fleener.

"This year's team seems to be senior-dominated, but there will be some younger players knocking at the door of some of the seniors who will be starting. I am not for sure who the starters will be, but this will be a fun team to watch."

Seniors for the Hearts include Kyle Durbin (outfield), Lucas Stortzum (outfield, pitcher), Anthony Jansen (pitcher, shortstop), Erik Walkup (outfield), Brad Gouchenouer (second base), Thomas Hine (third base), Derek Schroeder (pitcher, first base), Kenny Koenig (catcher, outfield), Ernesto Martinez (third base) and Brian Minor (outfield).

Juniors are Ryan Ohnesorge (shortstop, pitcher, second base), Brandon Storm (second base), Andrew Miller (first base), Tyler Fox (outfield, pitcher) and Eric Casper (catcher, outfield).

"As far as strengths and weaknesses go, we can improve in just about every area, and it is too early to find our strengths yet," said Fleener.

"This year our goal is to have fun and become more knowledgeable about baseball and about life. A major key to our success will be our hitting and how much heart we have as a team. We need to have the extra effort every day from every player to make each other better."

There are two sophomores listed on the varsity roster and those include Trey Kistler (outfield, pitcher) and Curran McNeely (pitcher, third base).

The Hearts will have a heavy schedule this week, weather permitting. EHS will open Wednesday then host Mahomet-Seymour Thursday, Altamont Friday and Salem Saturday in the Apollo Conference opener.

"This year we have a very tough schedule," said Fleener in his seventh year as head of the Hearts. "The Apollo Conference is tougher than it has ever been since I have been here. Mount Zion has three quality pitchers as does Olney."

Fleener will be assisted by Ron Diehl.

"This year's team has a chance to be as good if not better than last year's team," said Fleener.

The Hearts will face 22 teams this season which includes playing seven Apollo Conference doubleheaders. EHS will also compete in the City Series, a three-game event, with cross-town rival Effingham St. Anthony.


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