By Dan Truttschel Sports Correspondent

A slew of newcomers will be counted on for the Wilmot baseball team this spring.

But that doesn’t mean the Panthers’ goals will change – they only will be accomplished with a new crop.

Wilmot enters the spring after a 2011 season that saw it post a 16-8 overall record and an 11-3 mark in the Southern Lakes Conference, good for second behind champion Union Grove.

Despite the loss of eight seniors to graduation, seventh-year head coach Josh Pye is confident his group can continue the winning tradition of recent seasons.

“We’re used to having the same core of kids (but) we graduated eight seniors from last year,” he said. “We have some new faces on the varsity. We’re off to new challenges, and I’m looking forward to it.

“We only have a handful of seniors. We have a talented junior class and moved up three sophomores, so we’re going to be young. We’re still trying to figure out the pieces to the puzzle, but I think we have some good athletes to work with.”

Pye will lean heavily on a trio of seniors, Kevin Conrad (first base), Cal Rohrman (pitcher) and Kenny Eterno (shortstop-pitcher) to lead the team both on and off the field.

“We’re looking at them to lead this team, no doubt about it,” Pye said.

A fourth senior, Danny Porteous, who was slated to start in centerfield, has been lost for the season to a torn ligament he recently suffered. Ironically, Eterno is back with the team after he suffered a similar injury during the football season.

Among the juniors who Pye expects to fill the void of graduation are Scott Litwin, Cory Crowder (catcher-third base), Derek Horn (outfield), Zack Faber (infield), Chaz Schmidt (pitcher), Marcus Page (third base) and Nick Heniff (outfield-pitcher).

Schmidt played with the Wilmot varsity a year ago.

Three sophomores also have been added to the varsity roster and will make an immediate impact. They are Evan Ketterhagen (outfield-infield), Cam Loveless (outfield) and Garrett Bogucki.

That trio would have stayed with the JV squad if they weren’t going to see significant varsity time, Pye said.

“This is one of those years when we have a solid core of infielders, and we were looking to beef up our outfield,” Pye said. “That’s where those three kids are going to help us out.”

Even with the youth on the roster, Pye said he won’t change the goals he has set for the team.

“Same as always, we’re going to go after it and try to win a conference championship,” he said. “That’s number one.

“Two is to always get better.”

Looking at the conference race, Pye said it should be the usual suspects in the hunt – starting with Burlington, but also including Union Grove and Waterford.

But as is the case, anything can and probably will happen, he said.

Wilmot Baseball Schedule

Conference games in bold

All games 4:30

unless indicated

4-3, vs. Delavan-Darien; 4-5, at Delavan-Darien; 4-11, at Kenosha Bradford, 2 p.m.; 4-13, at Racine Horlick, 7 p.m.; 4-17, vs. Union Grove; 4-19, at Union Grove; 4.23, at Racine Park; 4-24, at Burlington; 4-26, vs. Burlington; 4-27, at Marian Catholic Central; 5-1, at Westosha Central; 5-3, vs. Westosha Central; 5-8, at Waterford; 5-10, vs. Waterford; 5-12, vs. Kenosha St. Joseph’s, TBA; 5-14, at Elkhorn, 3:45 p.m.; 5-15, vs. Elkhorn; 5-18, vs. Badger; 5-19, at Kimberly, DH, noon; 5-22, at Badger; 5-24, vs. Racine Case.



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