Experienced Pack prepared for successful spring

Published 10:50 am Friday, February 24, 2023

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Enthusiasm for the coming baseball season is running rampant at Washington High School as the Pack prepares for the season opener Tuesday at J.H. Rose in Greenville.

First-year head coach Will Tyson could field an all-senior starting lineup as he has nine on the roster, including eight returning varsity seniors.

Tyson, who was the junior varsity coach the past two seasons, replaced WHS athletic director Lane Raper, who led the program through two COVID-19 plagued campaigns.

“it was rough on everybody during COVID and Coach Raper did a great job holding everything together,” Tyson said. “He allowed me to learn the ropes and was ready to spend more time with his family. I’m excited about our season and we should be toward the top of the conference.”

WHS finished 12-10 overall and 7-5 in the EPC last spring, good for a second place tie with North Pitt behind champion West Craven. The Pack lost to North Pitt in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.

Last year’s conference player of the year, Connor Edwards, leads the returning group. The senior second baseman and leadoff batter hit .485 with 32 hits and 21 runs scored.

“We need him to be on base as often as possible,” Tyson said. “Our lineup should be more balanced behind him. I’m expecting the guys behind him to be more productive, so we can score more runs. That helps our pitchers relax a little.”

Tyson expects seniors Evan Waters, Austin Cherry and Edwards to be the primary pitchers, with Hunter Baldree, Tanner Moore and Cherry doing the bulk of the catching.

Senior Reid Apple is the third baseman and Bryce Williams is at first, with Baldree and Cherry rotating at shortstop.

“Hunter and Austin can play just about anywhere and I’m going to move them around depending on whose pitching,” Tyson said. “Versatility is a good thing and we have a lot of it this year.”