AMATEUR BASEBALL: A’s feature versatility, variety of options in 2014

MARSHALL – The Marshall A’s began their 2014 season Wednesday with an 10-1 Corn Belt League victory at Sacred Heart.

New Marshall manager Matt Suby guided the A’s in his first game at the helm. He expressed his excitement for the season to be underway.

“I know some of these guys between playing with the A’s and coaching younger Marshall teams in the past,” Suby said. “Some of these guys are new to me still. I’m just excited to get on the field and see us play, see us hit, see us throw the ball around a little bit, and get to a point where we start gelling as a team.”

The Marshall squad will be mostly made up of current or former Southwest Minnesota State players, who completed a 27-23 season in 2014.

“We have a lot of talent on the squad,” Suby said. “We’ll end up with 17 on the roster, almost all of which play or have played college ball. I think that’s a good thing. They have a certain understanding of the game. A lot of them are just coming off their college seasons.”

Ben Korger will see a lot of time at shortstop for the A’s. Other infielders include Austin Stubbs (first base/outfield), Andrew Kinney (first base/outfield), Matt Campion (first base, third base), Jarred Carlson (third base), Jordon Kontz (utility), Leo Zehr (utility), Ryan Engels (utility), Brandon Alfson (utility) and Ben Sanders (utility).

Players who will spend time in the outfield are Stubbs, Kinney, Carlson, Zach Olson and Jason Minnett.

Tanner Neale will get the majority of his innings as the A’s catcher.

“We have a lot of flexibility because guys can play multiple positions. If someone gets nicked up or needs a day off, we’ve got a lot of different lineups we can use,” Suby said. “Jordy Kontz can play all nine positions and Brandon Alfson can also play a lot of positions.”

Pitchers include Alfson, Kontz, Steve Weir, Jimmy Callahan, Nate Dickhausen and Travis McGlaufin.

Suby has the luxury of tinkering with his lineup.

“The hardest thing for me this summer is going to be figuring out which nine to put in the lineup,” Suby said. “We have a lot of guys who can hit. We have a lot of guys who I watched play at SMSU, and I saw how Coach Blanchard put the lineup together. We’re going to hit the ball. Hopefully we can do that one through nine, but also I’m confident in the guys we can bring in the games from here to there and till have competitive at-bats.”

Suby believes the A’s could do a variety of things at the plate.

“Right away, I just want them to swing and get some at-bats and get used to playing again and used to using the wood bats,” Suby said. “I think we’ll hit the ball well, but there will always be times where you have to manufacture runs, and I think we have guys who can do that too.”

Suby has set few rules for the A’s to follow.

“Just show up and be ready. You can play well and win or play poorly and win,” Suby said. “The important thing is that you are present and accountable to your teammates. This is their season and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Wednesday’s Result

Marshall 10, Sacred Heart 1

SACRED HEART – The Marshall A’s used a four-run fifth inning to propel them to a 10-1 victory over Sacred Heart on Wednesday night.

Jarred Carlson knocked a two-run double to bring across Brandan Alfson and Jason Minett to cap off their fifth-inning scoring. Carlson finished 1-for-2 on the night with that double and three walks.

Alfson pitched seven innings of scoreless ball before running into some trouble in the eight. He was pulled after 7 2/3 innings, finishing with a line of one run on five hits with ten strikeouts and three walks to earn the victory.