Knights start second year of rebuild with a victory

Mar. 20—WELCH — The last time the Mount View baseball program won 10 or more games was in 2011. Last year, after 12 years away, the same coaching staff from that 13-win team returned in hopes of jumpstarting the once proud program.

The rebuild got off to a good start last year. The 2023 Knights won 9 games for the first time in recent memory, and were within 1 run of winning a few more.

The 2024 Knights started Year Two with a victory Thursday night as they defeated Montcalm 18-8.

Hunter Muncy struck out 7 of the 8 batters he faced, and Tanner Little led the way offensively with 2 doubles and 4 RBI. The Knights got contributions from 2 freshmen: Jacob Wright doubled and Kyrece Hughes picked up 6 stolen bases.

The coaching staff of Joe Riffe, Jimmy Moore, and Virgil Phillips have set their expectations a little higher this season.

According to Riffe, "Our primary goal last year was changing the culture. We had to get more kids involved, improve practice habits, improve discipline, and raise overall expectations. We also worked hard raising money for some much needed equipment, and we started addressing several issues at our field. All of which are still a work in progress."

"Our goal last year was to win 8 games and we ended up winning 9. We've told them — if they want to be a serious program, we want to raise our expectations each season. This year, our goal is to get to 12 wins."

Mount View lost 4 starters from the 2023 team to graduation. The 2024 team will be inexperienced, with just 2 returning seniors on the roster. Though young, Riffe feels this team will compete.

"We have quite a few freshmen and sophomores that we are going to depend on. We keep telling them that if they stick with it, and work through some growing pains, they have a shot to be really competitive over these next few years."

Senior Blake Wright hit .350 last year and led the team in stolen bases. He will play a utility role and pitch for the Knights.

Junior's Levi Barton and David Little will both pitch. Little will play both corner infield spots and Barton will man centerfield when not on the mound.

The roster features 7 sophomores, led by Hunter Muncy. Muncy hit .338 as a freshman and logged 29 innings as a pitcher. He will play shortstop, pitch, and catch.

Tanner Little and Jackson Rose will be among the other young guys expected to provide more production.

Both Rose and Little will pitch and catch for the Knights.

Several freshmen will play pivotal roles. Jacob Wright has shown the ability to play multiple positions and Kyrece Hughes is a solid all-around athlete.

"We have a long way to go, but we have a really good group of kids. We had solid participation in our conditioning program," Riffe said.

Our guys are involved in several community service projects. They're buying-in to the discipline and accountability aspect.

"We think this group can develop into a really solid team if they continue putting the work in."