Having scored 25 runs in their first two games of the year, Daviess County’s high-powered offense is back for the 2023 season and they come into the year with a lot of experience and the hope to compete deep into the postseason.
The Panthers are coming off of a season in which they finished 21-9 overall, with their season coming to an end in the first round with a 16-6 loss to Apollo. Daviess County has plenty of experience on the roster, with a senior class of eight.
That is led by Cason Troutman, someone Head Coach Austin Clay says leads by example and only struck out four times last season to go along with a 2.65 ERA in 21 innings. He is joined by a number of other steady bats in the lineup, including senior outfielder Decker Renfrow (.449 batting average), Layton Huskisson (five home runs, .337 batting average) and Jackson Loucks (.286 batting average, four home runs).
Clay said he expects senior Ethan Ahart to take on a bigger role this year, as they’ll be counting on him to be more of an everyday player after being tested with a lot of action in big moments last season. Junior Lake Wilson will also be a key returning arm for the Panthers pitching staff, as they expect him to take a leap on the mound and at the plate as a shortstop as well.
“He makes consistent solid contact at the plate,” Clay said. “Very vocal and a leader for us on the field. Has gotten a lot stronger in the offseason and I look for that to benefit him, both at the plate and on the mound.”
Clay also will be looking to sophomore third baseman and catcher for some production as well, saying that he is a blue collar kid that is solid with the glove and has a great plate approach. Plate approach is something that Daviess County has been focusing on during the off-season, wanting players to adjust more at the plate with two strikes.
That proved to show in their season opener against Ohio County, winning on the road 10-5 in that game before defeating Breckinridge County 15-0 in its second game of the season.
With a vast amount of experience and new players that Clay expects to contribute right away, Daviess County is poised to be a threat by the time the 9th District Tournament rolls around.
“We are fortunate to have a lot of guys that have had varsity experience in the past,” Clay said. “We have a lot of options on the mound and a ton of guys capable of getting the job done. I would look for a few to take the next steps and really set themselves apart as a true ace… We need a few young guys to adjust to a little quicker game and really play like they are capable. I also believe that our biggest key will be on the mound and having guys that attack hitters and attack the strike zone.”