2015 Team Preview: Derby



By Sean McCann
Prep Baseball Report Kansas

As we prepare for the upcoming 2015 high school season, we will be taking a preseason glimpse at programs from around the state.

Team: Derby
Nickname: Panthers
Class: 6A
League: AVCTL-I
Head Coach: Todd Olmstead
Years as Head Coach at School: 3
2014 Overall Record: 16-5
2014 League Record: 9-3
2014 League Finish: 3rd
2014 Post-Season Finish: Lost in regional final
2014 Final Top 25 Ranking: 24

Returning Starters: 2
Pitchers with 15+ Innings Returning: 3

TOP RETURNERS (College Commitment)
Nate Crossman, OF, 2015 (Neosho County CC)
Nick Watson, LHP, 2015
Lane Sadler, C, 2017
Justin Ash, RHP/3B, 2015
Cody Bush, LHP, 2015

X-FACTOR
Nate Crossman.
The Neosho County CC was named KABC 6A All-State after hitting .479 with 10 extra base hits, 20 runs scored, 22 RBI and 15 stolen bases last spring.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Curtis Whitten, OF, 2015. Whitten transfers to Derby from Wichita Heights after hitting .453 with 33 runs scored and 22 stolen bases as a junior. With Crossman (6-foot, 190-pounds) and Whitten (5-foot-9, 190), Derby has two of the top speed/strength athletes in the state patrolling the outfield this spring.

KEY PLAYER LOST
Travis Young, 2B, 2014. The Panthers graduated three All-AVCTL-I performers from last year’s 16-5 club, including Young who had a breakout senior season hitting .493 with 36 runs scored, 13 extra base hits and 32 stolen bases and is now a freshman at Wichita State.

2015 OUTLOOK:  
Despite the loss of several talented seniors the cupboard is by now means bare for Derby this spring. The addition of Whitten provides them with a proven left-hand hitter and stolen base threat in their everyday line-up. In addition, sophomore catcher Lane Sadler returns after starting as a freshman; senior LHP Nick Watson will be looked to throw significant innings on the mound after missing the last part of the season due to illness; senior LHP Cody Bush logged 19 innings as a junior and is expected to see an expanded role this spring; senior RHP/3B Justin Ash, a starter on the mound last spring, looks to take over at the hot corner; and junior Garrett Xanders will battle for a starting spot in the infield. Expectations are high for three talented sophomores in IF/OF Braden Ash, OF Tanner Igo and RHP/3B Tanner Olmstead.

For Kansas high school baseball news and updates follow us on Twitter @pbrkansas

COACHES PRESEASON QUESTIONNAIRE

We appreciate all of the help provided by high school coaches across the state assisting with our preseason coverage. If you have not already done so you can fill out our coaches' preseason questionnaire online by clicking here.

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