Rejoice Christian baseball will venture into uncharted territory in the 2020 season.
The Eagles are competing in district play for the first time as part of District 2A-7, a dynamic that changed how head coach Casey Willis and his staff approached the spring.
“With 2A going to districts this year, managing pitching is even a bigger factor this year,” Willis said. “If you are able to win district, it puts you in a much better position heading into regionals.”
Rejoice won the program’s first two district games with a sweep of Chelsea on March 10 and opened with a 3-1 overall record prior the season’s stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Eagles return a solid nucleus from last year’s squad that finished 18-8 and advanced to the regional finals for a second consecutive season.
Senior and Missouri State signee Cole Hill tallied a team-high .487 batting average along with 31 RBI, 30 runs scored and 23 stolen bases a year ago. Also back in the fold are junior 2B/P Grady James (.296/29 runs/12 stolen bases), senior C/P Zach Hair (.375/22 RBI), junior 1B/C/P Gunner Evans (14 RBI/16 runs) and senior OF/P Kaden Hass, who averaged seven strikeouts per seven innings.
Rejoice also adds transfer senior OF/3B/1B Dyson Auschwitz and junior OF/P Hudson Campbell, who missed all of 2019 due to injury.
Willis said defense and team speed with be a couple of Rejoice’s strengths going into the season while pitching depth and experience level behind his top-end starters are big concerns.