Mother Nature is ahead so far; county teams wait for diamonds to dry out

Published 3:35 pm Thursday, March 7, 2024

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The county high school baseball teams have dodged raindrops and puddles for the opening week of the season and all three are ready to duplicate their playoff runs of last spring once the sun comes out to stay and the fields finally drain.

Washington: The Pam Pack lost nine seniors from last year’s 9-9 squad that lost to league opponent West Craven in the opening round of the 2A playoffs, but second year head coach Will Tyson has younger players ready to step up.
Senior shortstop/pitcher Hunter Baldree is back after earning All-Conference honors last year. He led the Pack with a .459 average, 26 RBI and 14 stolen bases.

“He and Bryce Williams will bat in the middle of our order and should produce a lot of runs for us,” Tyson said. “We lost seven starters from last year’s team, but the younger guys have good baseball knowledge and our defense should be strong. We’ll put the ball in play, steal some bases and take the extra base when we can.”

Tyson said Jackson Harding and Tanner Moore will catch with an infield of Williams and Wayland Mitchell (1B), Will Glover (2B), Jacob Spivey & Baldree (SS) and Harding & Braxton Williams (3B). Both Williams’, Logan Vick, Tanner Moore, Jacob Council and Lane Brown make up the outfield.

“We have a lot of kids who can pitcher, but we don’t have a guy who can go five innings consistently,” Tyson said. “We’ll piece it together between the Williams kids, Baldree, Glover, Spivey and Moore and hopefully a few will separate from the others.”

WHS dropped the opener to J.H. Rose, 8-0, last week in their only contest so far.

Northside: The Panthers are 1-1 under new coach Parker Boyd, who has been an assistant to his father, Keith, for the past three seasons. Keith Boyd has moved over to coach the softball team this spring.

“I played for my dad here, so I’ve been around the program for a long time, but I didn’t realize all the responsibilities a head coach has,” Boyd, a 2018 graduate, said. “Dealing with physicals, concussion paperwork and the field maintainence are new to me, but things are going well overall.”

Newcomer James Sawyer will draw added attention as he’s already committed to East Carolina for baseball.
The junior shortstop/right-handed pitcher has shown his potential in the early going according to Boyd. “He has a big-time arm and he’s a really good shortstop,” Boyd said. “He has a good glove, great feet and he can hit also.”

All-Conference seniors Brandon Arthur and Hunter Chrismon will join Sawyer on the mound along with sophomore Will Taylor.

Holden Boykin will catch, while Taylor (1B), Arthur & Jay Askew (2B), Arthur & Sawyer (SS) and Ashton Willard (3B) make up the infield. Jamie Corprew, Chrismon, Griffin Johnson, Chase Hewitt and Trenton Allen will see time in the outfield.

The Panthers are coming off a 19-5 season that saw them win the Coastal Plains Conference title and make it to the third round of the 1A state playoffs.
“Our pitching and defense should be solid and our hitting will get better as we get into a routine,” Boyd said. “We’re set up pretty well to have a good year.

Southside: The Seahawks have had the most luck with the weather as they’ve split four games so far.
Former soccer and softball coach John Lohman returned to Southside this fall after seven years of teaching English in Malaysia and has taken the head coaching reins. Former Seahawk Will Warren and Oliver Lewis will be the assistants.

Two experienced pitchers return in senior Cutter Williams and sophomore Luke Bullock along with junior Luke Perry, who led last year’s squad with a .409 average.

Sophomore Taylor Ashley will do most of the catching with Austin Gerard (1B), Josh Lewis (2B), while Williams & Salil Desai will play shortstop and third base depending on who is pitching.
T.J. Minor, Perry and Dexter Oden are the main outfielders.

“Cutter is our only senior and we only have two junior starters, so it will take a while for things to jell,” Lohman said. “We’re depending on Cutter to do a lot and he’s off to a good start. Our younger guys need to see more quality pitching so they can continue to improve. I’m looking forward to a fun season.”