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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Woodpeckers invade local Senior Babe Ruth scene

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Charleston Woodpeckers coach Paul Bucher talks to pitcher Trey Watkins (2) and catcher Ryan Mathis. The Woodpeckers are a new Senior Babe Ruth team in Southeast Missouri. Brent Shipman, Staff
CHARLESTON -- While most people are familiar with the Charleston Fighting Squirrels, the Charleston community will boast a second Senior Babe Ruth team this season in the Woodpeckers.

Consisting of kids from local schools such as Charleston, East Prairie and Oran the Woodpeckers have been able to post a 3-3 record on the season, including a doubleheader split with the Squirrels last Thursday.

"We're going to be competitive in that Senior Babe district and we're hoping for a state playoff berth," Bucher said. "Anything can happen at state so that's kind of what we're shooting at."

Though younger than many of the other programs in the area with all but one player under the age of 18, Bucher hopes his team's knack at the plate will make up for any lack in experience.

"I think our strength is going to be swinging the bats and last night really proved it," Bucher said referring to his teams' 19-12 win over the Squirrels. "I think that we can swing and we're going to swing it all year long."

Some of the hitters off to a hot start for the Woodpeckers include Zach Downing, Cole Byford, Nathan Maynard, Nathan Holland and Ryan Mathis, who each had multiple-hit efforts against the Squirrels.

While happy with the offense so far this season, Bucher added the team still has some work to do on the pitching and defensive front.

"A weaknesses might be our pitching," said Bucher. "We probably only have about three starting pitchers. We have a couple of kids that can come in relief and we have a couple kids that we're going to pitch that we're going to try to develop into varsity pitchers."

Added Bucher, "Another weakness might be our defense right now. We had about four errors in that first game against the Squirrels.

"But I think a lot of that is just kids playing with other kids for the first time. I think as the year goes on our defense will get a lot better and our pitching will develop."

The Woodpeckers roster consist of Maynard, Trey Watkins, Downing, Byford, Holland, Mathis, Dylan Dannenmueller, Matt Dorris, Byron Reeves, Trey Bledsoe, Casey Tatum, Ryan Houseman, Michael Baugh and Chance Maness.

Looking to push over the .500 mark on the season, the Woodpeckers will host New Madrid County on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Hillhouse Park.

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