Pitching will be key for young Huskies this spring

Ray Hamill/ – Rogan Gans, pictured in action for the Southern Humboldt American Legion team last summer, will see plenty of time on the mound for the Huskies this year.

By Ray Hamill — How quickly a young pitching staff develops will be key for the Fortuna Huskies on the baseball fields this spring.

The Fortuna boys got the season off a nice start with some strong pitching leading to a pair of wins at Fort Bragg on Saturday, with starters Drew Franklin and Rogan Gans both impressing on opening day.

“We were really pleased with the pitching,” head coach Andy Olsen said. “We only walked three and we played errorless baseball, which is always nice.

“Gans and Franklin did a very good job not going deep in the count, and we need that.”

After graduating eight seniors from last season, the Huskies feature a young lineup this year, with just four seniors on a squad of 15, including just one — Daniel Osborne — with any real varsity experience.

Osborne is a third-year starter in the outfield, and is joined on the roster by fellow seniors Troy Bugbee, Corbin Reback and Cody Sauers, the latter off whom hit a clutch double in game two at Fort Bragg and appears ready for the new season.

“They’re all guys the underclassmen look up to,” Olsen said of the seniors. “It’s a good group.”

The Huskies also feature a large and deep junior class, four of whom — Cole Ayala, Cody Collins, Rylan Lommori and Matt Letter — all saw substantial playing time a year ago as sophomores and will be expected to continue to develop this year.

In addition to Gans and Franklin, the trio of Letter, Collins and Ayala are all expected to see plenty of time on the mound, with Letter taking on the role of closer.

Juniors Cayden Danbrauskas and Cole Victorine will both also contribute on the mound.

“We’ve got 15 on the roster and they’re all very capable of getting in and contributing,” Olsen said. “Having some competition for spots is a good thing.”

The Huskies hit three home runs in their opening two games, and while Olsen admits that probably won’t be the norm this season, he does believe his offense will be able to put up some runs.

The key, however, will be how quickly the pitching settles in.

“Our pitchers are young,” the head coach said. “But if we’re able to pitch at the level we need to, I think we’ve got a chance at success.

“I think we’ll be competitive. I like the steps we’ve taken the last couple of years and I think we’ve got potential.”

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