By Mark Lewis
Local Sports Journal

It isn’t often that the Reeths-Puffer Rocket baseball team has a down year, but last season’s 13-14 campaign lacked the success of previous seasons.

But that fact does not dampen Reeths-Puffer’s mood heading into 2014.

“(We) always have high expectations as a program,” said Reeths-Puffer head coach Tim Schuppe, who has compiled an impressive 209-112 record in 11 seasons with the Rockets. “(We) return a solid pitching staff from last year.”

Throw a newcomer or two on the mound into the mix and the Rockets could again be a team to beat in the OK Black Conference.

The Rockets finished the 2013 league season with a 4-6 record.

The pitching staff will be headed by senior Trevor Mosher, who finished last year with a 5-2 record and a 2.75 ERA.

Mosher also hit .250 and is signed on to play next season at Muskegon Community College.

Senior Jake Balkema, junior Jacob Boes, and senior newcomer Garrett Blanshine will also pitch; depth in that department is important in a league that rewards deep staffs.

“The OK Black is very good from top to bottom,” said Schuppe. “We now play three games a week in conference play.  Each team is going to need three or four pitchers to survive.”

Of course, someone is going to need to catch all those strikes, and that honor falls to senior Caleb Sheffer, who moves from right field to catcher in 2014. Sheffer was a force at the plate last season, hitting .314 in the leadoff role, totaling six doubles and an on-base percentage of .529. He also had 17 stolen bases.

Senior Parker Richardson, who will join Mosher next season at MCC, will lead from the outfield and the plate, having finished 2013 with a .318 batting average, three doubles, two triples, and 13 stolen bases.

Seniors JJ Covington and Matt Hoover, and sophomore Tyler Moss, return, and junior Joe Champoux and freshman Collin Houseman will appear in their first varsity seasons.

After checking for the latest Rocket news, fans may keep up with the squad at