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Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014

Great expectations: Sqiurrels looking for return to Sr. Babe Ruth World Series

Sunday, May 30, 2010

(Photo)
Brent Shipman, Staff Charleston Squirrels pitcher Connor Scott works on his pitching at a recent practice. Pitching will be a strength for the Squirrels this summer.
CHARLESTON -- Two years removed from his team going to the Senior Babe Ruth World Series, Charleston Squirrel's coach Michael Minner has high hopes for this season's squad.

"Our goal is to go to the World Series and nothing less," he said. "Once you've been there and tasted it you sure want to go back."

The Squirrels enter this upcoming season as three-time defending state champions, finishing last year with a 30-20 record.

Advancing to the regional semifinals Charleston ended last season with a 2-1 11 inning loss to the Minnetonka Mudhens of Minnesota.

Having played for the Squirrels the past three seasons, Zach Rowland sees a marked improvement in the year's squad.

"I think we should be better," he said. "Pitching will be a big strength this year. We'll have a lot of people who can throw it."

Minner added he really likes how this year's team is shaping up.

"We feel like we should better offensively this year," he said. "We have a lot a lot of quality kids who are offensive-minded.

"We have a strong pitching staff and we feel like this should be as good of a defense as we've ever had. With all those things combined we feel like we're going to be pretty good shape."

Players from six different local high schools make up the Squirrel's roster with Charleston contributing six Bluejays to the roster.

Among those participating are James Naile, who had a 7-4 record 1.21 ERA on the high school season, and Rowland who hit .337.

East Prairie brings five Eagles on the team, including Connor Scott and Tyler Whybark, while Sikeston has three Bulldogs on the team, including Cody Rice and Kai Lambert.

With one player from each city on the team Bell City, Cape Girardeau and Oran fill out the team.

With the common theory being that pitching wins championships Minner feels like his rotation will be able to contend on all levels.

"We feel like we put together a pitching staff that can go out there and compete if we get to the national level," he said. "We want to be there with a chance to go to the World Series. That's ultimately why you do it.

"It's not about winning games during the regular season, it's about having kids ready to go in the post season. We feel like this group will be ready to go whenever it's time."

Charleston will open the season on Tuesday when they travel to Dyersburg for a doubleheader at 5 p.m. The Squirrels will host a wooden bat tournament beginning on Thursday when they will take on the Jackson Legion team at 7 p.m.

Chaffee Senior Babe Ruth

CHAFFEE -- The Chaffee Senior Babe Ruth team will open their season on Tuesday against Cape Girardeau Ford & Sons Post 63 at Capaha Park.

Chaffee's squad will consist of an almost exact replica of the Chaffee High School team's roster, who recently captured the Class 1, District 2 championship.

Andrew Dooley will lead the pitching rotation while Alex Crowe, Alex Davie, Jared Walker, Daniel Dooley, Trevor Cannon, Nathan Cicardi and Andrew Terhune are just some of the Chaffee players they are expecting.