Teevan’s Whittell Warriors are well-armed for 2009 season | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Teevan’s Whittell Warriors are well-armed for 2009 season

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Over the past decade, Whittell High School has fielded one of the strongest baseball programs in the state.

In recent years, however, the Warriors began to descend to the bottom of the Northern 2A League standings. That decline isn’t something first-year skipper Starbuck Teevan wants to continue.

Teevan has brought enthusiasm, a new outlook and different strategy to his first varsity baseball post. The former South Tahoe High, Sacramento City College and U.C. Davis player understands the constraints of playing baseball in the mountains and is encouraged that he can turn around the Whittell program.

“Over the last month and a half or so, they pretty much picked up on my system and the way I like to run things, and I think they are pretty excited,” Teevan said. “Nobody is walking around thinking this is last year. They are looking ahead, looking for bigger and better things.”

The players are responding to Teevan’s fresh system and are excited about the season.

“It’s good to have a break from all the tradition and some new blood with a coach. Starbuck is extremely enthusiastic, and the team is adjusting to all of the changes,” said junior Nick Warner. “We have a lot of talent on this team. We have a promising season.”

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The strength of Teevan’s first team is on the mound. Teevan has quality starting pitchers and depth that should serve the Warriors well during weeks when they play four games.

Junior Jordan Morgan and sophomore Alex Potnick are power pitchers who should ring up their share of strikeouts.

“I don’t think there is a 2A team that has as dominant pitchers as we do,” Warner said. “Lovelock lost (Wil) Schumacher and Silver Stage lost Darren Boone, so it’s up for grabs, and I think we’re definitely there, higher on the podium.”

Potnick received valuable time on the hill as a freshman, while Morgan missed all of last season after knee surgery and most of the basketball season due to another knee injury.

“He’s had no discomfort with the knee. He can push off (the rubber), and he’ll also be playing first base,” Teevan said.

“He throws hard. We’re increasing his arm strength and I think he can get into the upper 80s this year.”

Teevan expects other contributors on the hill. Warner, Ben Ward, Alex Vogt and Adam Laub are battling for spots in the rotation.

“I’m pleasantly surprised at the number of guys we have. We really need four quality pitchers to compete in this league, and I think we have that,” Teevan said.

Teevan also believes his Warriors have good team speed and are strong defensively up the middle. Catcher Sam Harris threw out three baserunners during scrimmage with Dayton and South Tahoe last Saturday.

When he isn’t pitching, Potnick will play shortstop. Ward and Anthony Taricco will field second and third bases, respectively. Whittell’s well-armed outfield will include Vogt in left, Warner in center and Laub in right.

“My only concern is the bottom of our lineup. In the scrimmages we struck out too much for my liking,” Teevan said. “We had some errors here and there and were picked off base a few times, easily fixable mistakes. We had some typical mistakes that teams will make coming out of the gym and not getting much time out on the field.”

After struggling with a 12-43 record over the past two years, the Warriors only need to look at another sport at the school for inspiration.

“This is the year we need to get used to winning,” Warner said. “This is our year for redemption, just like we had during football season. Before, we were all freshmen and sophomores and now we are all upperclassmen. We definitely have more leadership on this team. When one of our teammates get down, there is going to be someone there to pick him up.”

The Warriors will open their season Friday in the Yerington tournament, playing four games in two days. No one is looking forward to those games more than Teevan.

“They’ve picked up on my intensity and hopefully they take that to the field with them,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to learn the game the way it should be played, moving runners over, playing good defense. I’m very fortunate and thankful that I got this opportunity.”

Coach: Starbuck Teevan, first year

Last year: 8-19 overall, 2-10 league

Key loss: Carter Amaral

Key returners: Nick Warner, Alex Vogt, Alex Potnick, Jordan Morgan, Sam Harris, Ben Ward, Anthony Taricco

Opener: Today at Yerington tournament, Portola at 12:15 p.m., Sparks at 3:45 p.m.

2009 Whittell baseball schedule

Date Opponent Time

Today Portola 12:15 p.m.

Today Sparks 3:45 p.m.

Saturday Quincy 1:15 p.m.

Saturday Incline 2:45 p.m.

March 17 At Smith Valley 3:30 p.m.

March 20-21 WHS tourney TBA

March 24 Coleville 3:30 p.m.

March 26 Dayton 3:30 p.m.

March 28 Incline (DH) Noon

April 4 At No. Tahoe (DH) Noon

April 7 TRUCKEE 3:30 p.m.

April 11 At Sil. Stage (DH) Noon

April 14 At Coleville 3:30 p.m.

April 18 BATTLE MTN. (DH) Noon

April 21 SMITH VALLEY 3:30 p.m.

April 23 At Truckee 3:30 p.m.

April 25 At Rite of Passage (DH) Noon

April 30 At Virginia City 3:30 p.m.

May 2 LOVELOCK (DH) Noon

May 5 VIRGINIA CITY 3:30 p.m.

May 9 HAWTHORNE (DH) Noon

May 15-16 Regionals in Lovelock TBA

May 21-23 State TBA

Note: Whittell home games appear in ALL CAPS. They are played at Lampe Park in Gardnerville.