The Colfax-Mingo baseball team was one game away from a state tournament berth last season.
If the Tigerhawks want to return to the substate final and advance further than they did a season ago, they’ll have to do so without an all-state pitcher.
Jonathan Jacobs is not on the current roster, but the Colfax-Mingo brings back seven starters from last year’s 19-6 team which lost to Martensdale-St. Marys in a Class 1A substate championship game.
The Tigerhawks will be in 2A this season, and they have a new head coach as Brian Warrick takes over for the departed Greer Milledge.
“The expectations will be game by game, with the ultimate goal of winning a conference title and having postseason success,” Warrick said.
Even without Jacobs, Colfax-Mingo should have enough on the roster to compete for a South Iowa Cedar League title. The Tigerhawks went 13-3 in the league last year and only a forfeited game kept them from sharing the SICL crown with Lynnville-Sully.
Much of Colfax-Mingo’s success in 2017 came from pitching and defense. Senior Alex Lewis and sophomore Trystin Ross highlight the pitching staff.
Ross was 8-1 with a 1.91 earned run average as the team’s No. 2 starter last year. He also stuck out 38 batters in 40-plus innings. Lewis was 4-1 with two saves and an ERA of 2.68. Lewis fanned a team-high 57 batters in 44-plus innings.
“Alex will have another great season for us, whether he is pitching or playing the field,” Warrick said. “Trystin is set for another good year. He has the ability to play anywhere we need him but will mainly pitch and play third base.”
Warrick is unsure of who will hold down the No. 3 starter spot on the staff. Candidates include seniors Jarod Nichols and Misha Seebeck, junior Zarek Hill and sophomores Brady Berkey and Isaac Clouse.
Hill was 2-2 last year with an ERA of 2.73.
Playing behind a strong pitching staff last year was a solid group of fielders who averaged a little more than one error per game.
Offensively, Hill led the way with a batting average of .405. He was second on the team with 21 runs and led the team with 23 RBIs and 14 steals.
Seebeck had a team-high batting average of .417 and he drove in 18 runs, which ranked second on the team.
Sophomore Trinity Schroeder batted .383 and drove in 15 runs in his first year as the starting center fielder. Nichols batted .327 in his 19 starts.
“Practices are going well,” said Warrick, who served as a C-M assistant coach last year. “We are working a lot of fundamentals and touches of the ball. We are working on knowledge of the game itself and on game situations.”
The Tigerhawks open the season against SICL rival BGM at 6 p.m. Monday in Colfax.