Collegiate junior catcher Caleb Egan knows precisely what to expect when the Spartans’ ace is on the mound, enabling him to call the correct pitches that will most benefit his pitcher in a variety of situations.
It’s an ideal relationship that coach Joe Gehrer wants to see Egan establish with every Spartan pitcher.
Although it does help that Collegiate’s top pitcher, John, is Egan’s brother.
“You’d love to have your catcher have that relationship with everybody,” Gehrer said. “High school baseball doesn’t have that luxury, so it’s nice to have that with one pitcher.
“But maybe it will rub off on the other pitchers, that they can trust the catcher like John does.”
Caleb Egan is a confident catcher, who Gehrer has seen improve consistently in controlling the pitching staff and calling pitches.
“He knows how to do his job,” Gehrer said. “He’s done it a lot. He’s confident in his skills. He’s a very good receiver, both with his glove and his body, whether blocking or catching pitches in the zone. He’s a good communicator, whether on relays or bunt defense.”
John Egan, who was a second-team all-league selection in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division IV, threw more than 40 innings as a freshman.
“He can locate three pitches, and he’s a tough competitor,” Gehrer said. “… He understands the game, and he understands what he’s good at. He’s not an 85 mph guy, but he understands his skill set and uses it well. He has a lot of confidence for a young kid.”
Augusta’s trio of stars — Augusta seniors Connor Hurst, Michael Albright and Mason Hiser have spent four years playing varsity for the Orioles.
“It’s the first time we’ve had multiple seniors on the team since four years ago,” said coach Doug Jefferson, whose team is 4-2 and plays at Mulvane on Thursday.
“We’ve always been kind of young. The leadership they have brought through the first games and the last month of practice, they’re doing a great job leading the younger kids.”
Jefferson also knows what to expect from each, including the ability to get multiple stolen bases.
Hurst, Augusta’s leadoff hitter who plays in center, had nine triples in 2014. He already has three in the first six games.
“He runs everything down,” Jefferson said. “He’s in charge in the outfield. With his speed — and it’s not just his speed but his ability to get the jump on the ball. He reads hitters really well.”
Albright, who moved from right to left field, is vital because of his knowledge in the field and his ability to work well with Hurst. Albright has one home run.
As for Hiser, Jefferson expects a complete game and a win. Although on April 2, Hiser took the 1-0 loss against Buhler.
“Obviously, if he only gives up one run, we expect to win,” Jefferson said.
If Hiser had his way, he’d pitch most games.
“He’s the third Hiser I’ve had — and there’s another one coming — and they’ve all been exaclty like that arm-wise,” Jefferson said. “It only takes about a day to recover. If you let them, they’d all pitch the next day.
“He takes very good care of his arm. He’s lucky with the kind of arm he has. He wants to compete, wants the ball in his hand.”