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Southeast baseball celebrates program resurgence in 2024

Southeast baseball celebrates program resurgence in 2024


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


Baseball has been a bit different for the Southeast Pirates this spring.

Different from last year.

Different than the last six seasons, actually.

The Southeast High School baseball team poses with youth player from the community during a Youth Night celebration earlier this season.

It was back in 2017 when the Pirates celebrated its last season above .500. That season’s group finished with a 10-7 overall record and were 7-3 inside the Portage Trail Conference’s County Division schedule.

Over the next six seasons, the Pirates compiled a 25-78 overall record and 15-34 league record.

The 2024 season, though, has seen a resurgence for the program.

Following a pair of wins on Tuesday night, Southeast is now 17-8 on the year.

First-year head coach John Kinsey, who is the team’s third coach in three years, said that the team agreed, together, very early in the preseason to make a commitment to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

It was how they felt they could achieve different results.

“We wanted to raise our level of accountability by working on and preparing our own field,” Kinsey said. “We wanted to create a culture of togetherness, where everyone has a job and on any given day, will be expected to execute. And we wanted to be a more complete team by being able to have the ability to play small ball and put pressure on opposing teams. We certainly haven’t checked all of the boxes in year one and will continue to be a work in progress, but we couldn’t be more proud of the way our guys have approached their preparation, practice and opportunities thus far.”

A small, but impactful, senior class has helped set the culture for the Pirates.

“They have led the way in regards to willingness to do whatever it takes to win,” said Kinsey, who pointed to Logan Lavigna as the glue of the team.

“His effort is never called into question,” Kinsey said.

Additionally, Nate Muncy has continued to be a beacon of consistency and skill, Logan West has set the standard for temperament and Zack Balk has been “one of the most selfless players I’ve ever coached,” according to Kinsey.

“This blend of quality characteristics amongst our senior leadership has served as a template for the rest of our program to feed off of and build from,” Kinsey said. “If I had to point to one singular reason we’ve been able to add to our win column this year, it would be our senior class and their buy in and trust in our coaching staff that changes could be made to our program in time for them to reap the benefits.”

Benefits that show the potential to be available for the program moving forward, as well.

The Pirates’ roster, program wide, is up to 26 players this year and the group played an 18-game JV season this spring.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our quality and quantity of young guys at the moment,” Kinsey said. “We have a junior class that is really well balanced with Zach Keto, Brady Blankenship, Carter Oyster, Caleb Miller and James Pritt all being everyday contributors.”

A pair of sophomores, May Wood and Joe Sharish, have also made an impact this season, while Cohen Richardson, one of 11 freshmen on the roster this spring, has produced early and often on defense and at the plate after earning the spot as the team’s starting shortstop.

While Kinsey and his coaching staff, which includes his father John Kinsey Sr., Dan Miller and Tom Sharish, are proud of what the team has accomplished overall, they are still motivated to take the next steps.

“We look forward to working with another large class of incoming freshmen next season. We hope that as the program builds on its success, we will continue to gain interest from athletes and keep kids on the diamond,” Kinsey said. “We will continue to recruit our hallways and student body in pursuit of carrying three squads within our program.”

1 Comment

  1. John Kainrad May 15, 2024

    Thank you for this story on SE Pirate baseball. I am an alum and former player. Good luck to future teams !!


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