Spokane Pitching Good; Hitting Is Big Problem
By BOB JOHNSON
Spokane Chronicle Sports Writer
SPOKANE, April 10 — There will be lot cf new faces in the lineup come April 22 when the Spokane Indians open defense of their Western International baseball league pennant at home against the Salem Senators.
Manager Don Osborn, who returns to the league after a long stay as a triple A pilot in the east, has rounded up a gang of newcomers whom he believes will provide Spokane with one of its finest hustling, and youngest clubs in years. Osborn was formerly the manager at Vancouver, B.C.
Five Hurlers Back
Only in the pitching department has Osborn many of last year's regulars. Five moundsmen from last year's championship outfit are back. And there's John Marshall who won 12 and lost 2 after he joined Spokane from Victoria where he had won but two while losing eight.
Gordon Palm, (6-1) and Bob Roberts (9-7) are the other returnees. Added to the staff are several top prospects including Bob Hardy a rookie, and Frank Chase who is on option from the Portland Beavers. Only lefty on the mound staff is Jerry Wulf a 20-year-old whose only previous experience was in semi-pro ranks.
A couple of others given a good chance of sticking are Merrill Schutz of Ritzville and Jack Sautter of York, Pa.
With Bill Sheets returning as the No. 1 receiver, Jimmy Brown back, at second base; and fleet-footed Ed Murphy returning to center, Osborn believes he has the "strength down the middle" that's needed to produce a winning club.
Assisting Sheets in the backstop job is Ron Garner a 19-year-old hustler who is just out of college.
Three newcomers join Brown in the infield. On first base Osborn has been working Herb Simpson, a lanky Negro who hits well but doesn't connect for the long blows Osborn wants in a first sacker.
At short is Samuel (Pat) Simmons, a 20-year-old who played with Bisbee in the Arizona-Texas loop a year ago. Herb Souell, who saw action with the Kansas City Monarchs until he joined the Canadian Provincial league last year, is at third. Negro Bob Reynolds is making another bid at short. Joining Murphy in the outfield is a returnee, Mel Wasley who, at 33 is the "old man" of the Indians. He will probably be in left.
Joe Allicotti, Merlyn Burleson, Don Osborn Jr., son of the Spokane manager and Zeke Merrick are all making a strong bid for the other outfield berth.
By department's Osborn sizes the club up like this: Pitching—excellent; Defense—good in the infield, very good in the outfield and behind the plate. Hitting—still an unknown quantity although the club has a number of long ball hitters who should provide an extra punch.