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By Leyton Pullin
2020 was a less than stellar year for Manager Les Sandridge and his Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks club as they finished the year 4-16 at the bottom of the league standings.
Sandridge admitted ahead of the 2021 campaign he was,” going in blind,” but seemed rather optimistic when he talked about the return of the big bat of Cody Bartley.
Bartley returns to Stuarts Draft for his fifth year in a row and becomes one of the veterans on the D-Backs and returns off of a successful 2020 season. Bartley hit 10 homeruns a year ago ranking second overall in the league behind MVP Chase Delauter. Bartley also hit .438 ranking second on the team and in the top ten on the RCBL.
Tyler Wilcher also returns to Stuarts Draft for his sixth year under Sandridge. Wilcher, the former EMU Royal, comes off of a 2020 season where he hit .311 with 11 RBI and saw action all over the field.
A new face to the Diamondbacks is another former EMU Royal and Riverheads High School standout Zach Roberts. Roberts spent his spring 2021 as an assistant coach for Mary Baldwin University in the first of year of the baseball program at the university. While at EMU Roberts hit .319 during his career and played primarily as an infielder and will bring a consistent bat to the Diamondbacks lineup.
When it comes to pitching is where the biggest question mark might be for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks. “Managing pitching is going to be difficult this year,” said Sandridge. He mentioned that losing some players may make that a tall order. When looking at the previous mentioned returners both Bartley and Wilcher have pitching experience in the league but not in 2020.
Stuarts Draft is set to open up their 2021 season with a road date against the Elkton Blue Sox on June 5 and will then host the Bridgewater Reds at the Diamond Club in the home opener at 7PM.
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