Defense to highlight Yukon baseball early

The Yukon baseball team opened the 2018 season Monday afternoon with a road game at Midwest City. The Millers took on the Bombers Tuesday in game two of the series at home.

Yukon coach Kevin James said the preseason went well but the Millers need to be more consistent.

“Practices have gone well,” James said. “Scrimmages have been up and down due to weather and lack of consistency.”

James said defense will be the strength for his team to open the season.

“We have a lot of arms and we should play solid defense,” James said. “We need to get better at the plate and need more consistency in every facet of the game.”

Yukon returns several key pieces to the puzzle from last year’s team that made a 6A state semifinal run. James identified those players he expects to be leaders for this team in 2018.

“Dalton DeBaud, Jack Pritchard, Nollan Koon, Payton Miller and Dakota Ward are guys who are going to be leaders for us this year,” James said. “These are guys that are back from last year’s team. They need to provide leadership for our guys.”

On top of the returners from last year’s group, the Millers will look to some youth to fill holes left by last year’s seniors. James identified those players he expects to have good years for Yukon.

“Seniors Rylan Vanlandingham, Tanner Nease, Tyler Meyers and Chance Shelton are guys who are going to do well for us,” James said. “Also, juniors Drew Janvrin and B.J. Lee and sophomores Mason McIntyre, Riley Miller, Josh Sanders and Matt Wilson are doing well.”

James pointed out several different things that are keys to his team’s success in 2018.

“Throwing strikes and finishing innings,” James said. “Moving runners, hitting with runners on base, consistency at the plate and defensive consistency are all going to important to our success. We are capable, just need to believe and have confidence in ourselves.”

Yukon will host Westmoore at 5 p.m. Thursday at Miller Field and then travel to Deer Creek for a noon first pitch with the Antlers.

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