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Garrett Haden, left, and Drew Wheeler, pose for a photo after earning All-State honors in 2019.

While many local baseball fans are hoping the coronavirus doesn’t cut the season short this spring, the Stockton R-1 baseball team still has its sights set on gametime. 

R-1 Coach Darin Henderson said he thinks the team will “be alright.”

“We’ve got several returners from a fairly successful year last year, and we’re just going to do the time and see how much better we can get,” he said. 

Stand-out players include senior Drew Wheeler and Garrett Hayden, who made honorable Missouri All-State placements last year. 

“I think our strength is our experience,” Henderson said. “Most of these guys played last year, and kind of got a taste of our scene and figured things out toward the end. So the more we play, I think the better that will be for us.”

Other than the strength of experience, Henderson said figuring out “who we are, each other, as a team,” will help them be successful down the line.

There are components of the game the team will have to work on, he said, such as scoring more runs, getting better defensively and hitting the ball “a little bit better.”

Last year, the Stockton Tigers baseball team lost 1-0 in the Missouri district semifinals; Henderson said the loss has been on the minds of his students. 

On Saturday, March 27, the Tigers will play at their first tournament of the season in Bolivar. One opponent the Tigers are eyeing is Aurora. 

“The Bolivar tournament, we’re playing three class four schools — Bolivar, Clinton and Aurora, and Aurora’s been in the playoffs the last few years. Same with Bolivar,” Henderson said. “It’s a really big test for us whether to know if we’re good or not by the time we get to that tournament.”

The Tigers will play a tough schedule, Henderson said, but it will help them prepare.

Stockton High School also will host a baseball tournament Thursday through Saturday, March 26-28, featuring high school teams from Stockton, New Covenant, Butler and Nevada.

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