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Sports

Baseball: Andrew Gipe, Sandwich seniors to lead a young group

All-conference pitcher one of five Indians returning with varsity experience

Sandwich's Andrew Gipe delivers a pitch against Plano on April 30.
Sandwich's Andrew Gipe delivers a pitch against Plano on April 30.

Andrew Gipe possesses a nice repertoire of pitches to choose from.

But his success starts up top.

"He's just got a great attitude out there," Sandwich coach Jason Van Pelt said. "He has a great mentality on the mound. He goes right after guys."

Gipe's experience is useful to Sandwich.

The all-conference pitcher is one of four seniors, and five total players with significant varsity experience, that Van Pelt will lean on a team with 14 juniors. The Indians, coming off a 16-15 season (11-5 in the Interstate Eight), have had limited time outside during the preseason so it will be a learning process early.

"We still have a lot of learning to do," Van Pelt said. "We have to bring them along. We've had good senior leadership from our seniors so far."

Gipe, a Waubonsee Valley Community College commit, last year pitched to an 8-4 record with a 3.24 earned run average and 41 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched. He'll likely play shortstop when he's not on the mound. He drove in 17 runs last year and scored 24.

"He has three pitches that he can control, and he knows how to pitch," Van Pelt said. "We are expecting a lot of good things from him."

Gipe is joined by returning seniors Sean Smith, Wyatt Murphy and Devin Carrera and junior Jackson Murphy, who started as a sophomore last spring.

Smith drove in 12 runs and scored 21 last year, Wyatt Murphy had 13 RBIs and 24 runs scored and Jackson Murphy drove in eight runs and scored nine.

Jackson Murphy will likely fill in at middle infield, Smith at third base and Wyatt Murphy will be in the outfield. They'll also see time on the mound.

"Those guys are all guys that can play multiple positions," Van Pelt said. "We have a good four-man rotation that we can use. It will give us a chance to win every game that we play."

Two of the large junior class, Jaron Schiera and Austin Ford, are competing for the catching job.

Sandwich opens its season Saturday at Montini, with the home opener scheduled for Tuesday against Sterling.

"We're just getting these guys used to varsity pitching and the speed of the game, what it's like," Van Pelt said. "I have a great group of returning players. They're doing an awesome job with the young guys and are working hard. We have to get some experience and play good team baseball."

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