American Legion baseball season opens



June 3, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Despite another season of losing some key contributors from its back-to-back state championship squads, the Iola AA American Legion Indians have high hopes for a three-peat.

The Indians, who open the 2014 season tonight at West Franklin in Pomona, feature a number of returning stalwarts, plus a key infusion of standouts from Humboldt High’s baseball juggernaut.

In fact, the Indians’ roster sports more Humboldt High products (seven) than from Iola (five) this summer.

Among the expected key performers:

Trent Latta and Derrick Weir were both among the Indians’ team leaders in 2013 and can be expected to do so again this summer. 

Latta starred both on the mound and in the field, where he’ll line up as shortstop and outfielder in 2014.

Weir has been the starting catcher, while also taking to the mound for his senior year at Iola High. He’ll be expected to contribute at both positions for the Indians.

Drew Faulhaber was the Indians’ starting second baseman last summer. Since then, he’s also been called on to pitch for Iola High. He’ll do both for the Indians, or play in the outfield.

Grayson Pearish pitched for the Indians in 2012. Since then, he has developed into Humboldt’s top pitcher and starting third baseman otherwise. He’ll man both positions this summer.

Hunter Murrow and Kason Siemens manned middle infield slots for the Cubs. They’ll do the same for the Indians. Both also pitch.

Jacob Carpenter has developed into an all-Tri-Valley League first baseman for Humboldt. He’ll  start at first for Iola as well.

Caleb Vanatta, Caleb D’Armond and Alex Murrow all have developed into standouts for the Cubs on offense and defense. Vanatta and D’Armond will play the outfield. Alex Murrow will catch and pitch.

Two other familiar names fill the roster. Aaron Barclay and Eric Heffern both starred at IHS and for the Indians in 2013. While they exhausted their high school eligibility a year ago, both remain young enough for another season of Legion baseball.

Roland Weir returns for his second year as head coach for the Indians. He is assisted by Bruce Faulhaber and Jay Carpenter.

The Indians’ first home game is June 17 against Santa Fe Trail at the Allen Community College baseball diamond. The squad also has games scheduled at the new USD 258 Sports Complex in Humboldt.