For the Forest City baseball team, there’s plenty to be excited about this season.
The Indians return seven players who saw significant action a season ago and bolster one of the most talented rosters in the Top of Iowa West.
With experience and talent back, head coach Jeff Jerome isn’t shy about where he hopes to see his team when the end of the season rolls around.
“Our goals start with our conference. Any time you have rivals around the area and some decent teams, you want to win conference,” Jerome said. “I don’t necessarily care about seeding, but that’s going to take care of business if you’re towards the top of the conference.”
Although the Indians do have returners back from a season ago, last year’s squad didn’t catch its groove until later in the season. Forest City finished with an overall record of 8-9 in 2020. Four of those losses were decided by two runs or less.
The big challenge for those returners will be to build off what they did last year and constantly improve throughout this season. If the team can do that this season, standout junior Reese Moore likes his team’s chances.
“I believe we’ve got a state tournament team this year,” Moore said. “We can make it far in the postseason.”
A University of Iowa baseball commit, Moore posted stellar numbers in his sophomore season. The lefty batter posted a .585 batting average with nine doubles and eight home runs. He also went 3-1 on the mound and led the team with 40 strikeouts.
Junior Truman Knudtson and sophomore Kellen Moore will also be expected to produce offensively this year after both posted batting averages of over .300 last season.
If the Indians are to accomplish their goals of winning the conference and qualifying for the state tournament, the one area that Jerome hopes to see improve is the team’s approach at the plate.
“There hasn’t been a team that I’ve coached where I’ve said that we can’t improve offensively,” Jerome said. “You’re looking at getting nine guys playing for the same thing and being able to bunt runners or move runners. Just quality at-bats overall so that everyone can build on it.”
On the defensive end, the Indians return most of their top pitchers. Outside of Reese Moore, Noah Miller, Brock Moore and Knudtson all saw significant action in 2020.
“I think we’ve got a very strong team this year,” Reese Moore said. “We’ve got a lot of returners coming back and our pitching is really deep.”
“I think we’re going to make a run,” he added.
The Indians will continue the start to their season against North Iowa at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Forest City.
Gunnar Davis covers sports. Reach him via email at Gunnar.Davis@GlobeGazette.com or by phone 641-421-0598.