Editor’s note: Extracurricular activities, including athletics, for Jefferson County public schools have been canceled for the rest of the school year, but the Leader has presented spring sports previews to highlight the students who had worked hard in hopes of playing this season.
Festus won six games and lost 16 last year, its first record below .500 record since 1997.
Jeff Montgomery enters his 12th season as head coach and 24th overall with the Tigers, who were bounced by Potosi in eight innings in the first round of the Class 4 District 2 tournament.
“This year, we definitely have more athletes to pitch, but we are inexperienced,” Montgomery said. “Pitching depth could be a strength. We have some underclassmen who will contribute. This is then youngest team we’ve had in 25 years.”
The Tigers can hitch themselves to junior Cole Wagner, a first-team all-conference selection last year after he led off and hit .314. He had three doubles, a triple and home run.
“Cole had a tremendous season,” Montgomery said. “He was our catalyst on the bases.”
Wyatt Daugherty (center field, pitcher), Nolan Stafford (pitcher) and Connor Wilkinson (pitcher, second base) are the three seniors. Wilkinson was 2-2 with an ERA of 1.96 last year.
Junior Collin Reando is a versatile player who pitches, catches and plays solid shortstop. Junior Ethan Carroll is a transfer student who will pitch and fill a utility role.
“We could have four or five sophomores contributing on a daily basis,” Montgomery said. “Our freshman class has some good ballplayers. I see potentially one to three of them filling some roles if needed. Especially on the mound.”
When the Tigers get on base, their speed on the basepaths could be better, Montgomery said.
“We are going to have to situational hit and execute better. I hope we are better offensively. We play a very competitive schedule against some big schools and you see good arms when you face those teams,” he said.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association has said it will work with local school districts and county health authorities to determine whether the season will start, and when.