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.
St. Pius X High School scored 10 or more runs 10 times last season before running into West County in the Class 3 semifinals. That was as far as the Lancers went, as they were blanked 4-0 and finished with a 17-4 record.
Jerry Woods stepped down as the head coach and was replaced by Dan Oliver, who also was hired to coach the school’s football team that Woods also guided.
The Lancers competed in a jamboree and had 12 practices before being shut down this spring. Two of the team’s mainstays the past few years – seniors Riley Naeger and Noah Lampros – decided not to return this season to pursue their college goals in different sports.
That leaves Oliver with one senior – pitcher, middle infielder and leadoff batter Jason Pesold.
“The way he’s presented himself, he’s done a good job of being a leader,” Oliver said.
Senior Michael Bollinger didn’t play last season, but Oliver said he’s been throwing strikes and getting outs on the mound.
Sophomore Austin Almany is behind the plate after getting limited varsity at-bats as a freshman.
“He’s probably one of the best catchers I’ve had,” said Oliver, who coached at Affton.
While the returning core of the offense took a beating, Naeger and Lampros not returning and graduation mauled St. Pius’ pitching staff. Junior Zander Parson was looking like the Lancers’ top arm.
“I thought he was going to have a good spring,” Oliver said.
Oliver said there are 20 players in the school’s program, from freshmen through seniors. Freshman Andrew Merseal started in the infield during the jamboree against North County and Windsor. Sophomore Nathan Schwer led off and played in the outfield.
“We’ve got speed and a bunch of kids willing to work and have fun,” Oliver 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.