The Illinois Valley Central baseball players have their sights set for the top.



“It’s almost an automatic goal to want to get back to state,” coach Jerry Rashid said. “We always want to win the (North Central Illinois) conference and compete against good teams.”


The Illinois Valley Central baseball players have their sights set for the top.

“It’s almost an automatic goal to want to get back to state,” coach Jerry Rashid said. “We always want to win the (North Central Illinois) conference and compete against good teams.”

Last season, the team finished with a 35-5 record, but lost in the Super-Sectional to Morrison.

Leading the charge in 2009 was a strong senior class that consisted of Jordan Parr and his twin Justin, Billy Seiler, Derek Fleming, Chris Razo and James Lauber.

“They were a great group of baseball players, and it always leaves a gap when you lose a good senior class,” Rashid said.

This year’s Ghosts are led by senior outfielder Keegan Horack, catcher Derek Sprout, first baseman Thomas Foley, outfielder Nick Brenner, pitcher Drasen Johnson, pitcher Cody Kentzel and outfielder/pitcher Travis Thacker.

“The seniors have to step in to play,” Rashid said. “We have a good nucleus of senior players and a good combination of juniors.”

The rest of the team will be made up of all juniors, including pitcher Alex Koch, shortstop Trever Black, second baseman Dan Semtner, utility player Alex Bradley, centerfielder/pitcher Brock Adcock, first baseman Cam Wilmington, pitcher/outfielder Austin Youngman, pitcher Nick McCready, third baseman Matt Welch and pitcher/infielder Braden McIntyre.

“We think very highly of the talent and potential we have in the junior class,” Rashid said.

When the Ghost pitching staff takes the mound for the first time, it should be one of the more dominant in the area.

“I think our pitching staff will be our strength,” Rashid said. “We have good depth, and we’ve added a good junior class to our returning starters.”

At the plate, the Ghosts may have some work to do to bring their hitting up to par.

“Our hitting isn’t proven yet,” Rashid said. “We have got some kids that we think will hit, but until they get 100 bats in a season, we’re not sure how they’ll hit.”

The team will also benefit from a defense that should keep opposing teams from scoring too many unearned runs.

“I think we might have one of the better outfields that we have had in awhile, and we’re very strong behind the plate as well,” Rashid said.

Despite the strong defense and pitching, IVC will still have obstacles to overcome when they take the field.

“I think the biggest thing that we will have to overcome is our lack of experience,” Rashid said.

IVC starts the season at 11 a.m. Saturday at Eureka.