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SEASON PREVIEW: Warrensburg heads into season under new coach

WARRENSBURG — Warrensburg baseball looks to build upon last season’s 7-13 record under the direction of first year head coach Chris Coombs.

“We want to improve, we want to play good baseball, play the game right, play hard every time we play,” Coombs said.

Coombs was the Warrensburg assistant for the previous six season, but was promoted at the end of the last season to the head coaching position.

The Tigers lose key pieces from last year, but hope to reload with a mixing of upperclassmen and underclassmen.

“We have some seniors, but we are going to sprinkle in some underclassmen,” Coombs said. “We are going to have a lot of underclassmen that help us. The good news is I think we are deep in a lot of places, so we have lots of infielders. We have a good mix of outfielders too that can help us.”

The front man for the Tigers pitching staff will be senior Kade Peterson.

“Kade Peterson is going to be our number one,” Coombs said. “He is our clear ace.”

Peterson will also fill a middle infield spot when not on the mound.

Opening day for Warrensburg will be March 16 as the Tigers travel to Lawrence, Kansas, for a doubleheader with Free State High School.

SEASON PREVIEW: Warrensburg golfers bring balanced attack into 2018

WARRENSBURG — The Warrensburg golf team returns four of its five top players from the 2017 roster this season.

The team returns senior Ty Carter and Russell Wilkins; junior Nolan Chapman and sophomore Andrew Bailey from last season’s varsity squad.

Carter, Wilkins and Chapman all made the sectional tournament in 2017.

“Probably as much improvement as I could have imagined,” Warrensburg coach Dave Liebnitz said. “Guys have worked over the summer and through the fall.”

The team graduated just one senior last season, Kade Mackey.

Mackey also made the sectional tournament.

“I believe we will have a chance to compete in a lot of tournaments we struggled in last year,” Liebnitz said on the experience of this season’s team.

Carter, Wilkins and Chapman played in the top spots last year as juniors and a sophomore, respectively.

“They had to make a big jump last year and play in the one, two and three spots,” Liebnitz said.

“They used all their prior knowledge to take forth the new season we have and we can be a lot more competitive, I think, now that we have actually gotten our feet in the water,” Chapman said.

Liebnitz said the experience the team gained last year from playing younger golfers at the top spots will be beneficial this year.

“Once they take ownership of their golf game, that is where they really start to stride, instead of you telling them what to do all the time,” he said. “I hoped they would improve and I knew they would improve but overall the guys probably advanced their game a little more than I expected.”

Along with returning four of the top five from last season, Liebnitz said freshman Brooks Baldwin will compete for a varsity spot this season.

“He will be up on the varsity squad, not by default,” Liebnitz said. “He will jump right in on the varsity squad and will be a welcomed addition.”

He said the soundness of the team will be a strength in competitions.

“I think the strength is going to be the ‘team golf,’” Liebnitz said.

Not only does Warrensburg have a core group return but it also welcomes a class of seven freshman to the team.

“It kind of gives us more of a future for our team,” Chapman said.

The Tigers have had to fight the elements early in order to get practice swings in.

“Well we have had some tough weather to practice in recently,” Liebnitz said.

“It’s kind of just getting back into everything,” Chapman said.

The Tigers still have some time to practice though before their first regular season action on March 22.

Warrensburg will host Marshall and Sacred Heart.

Action is slated to begin at 4 p.m.

The team will compete in its first tournament of the season on April 2 at the Eagle Invitational.

Derek Brizendine | Star-Journal 

Warrensburg pitcher Kade Peterson returns for his senior season.