Posted on

2010 Harrison County baseball previews

Corydon Central
Corydon Central entered last season with several freshmen surrounding the diamond. The Panthers will be young again this season, as the roster boasts one senior, Zach Anderson.
Anderson, however, is a key for the Panthers. The right hander is one of coach Zach Sipes’ top pitchers and also handles the bat well. Yet, with one senior, Sipes is searching for leadership in the spring.
‘We’re trying to get guys to step up and be leaders on the field,’ he said. ‘We’re looking for one or two guys to get us going. If it happens, we should be headed in the right direction.’
Sipes said the strength of his team is pitching, defense and speed. They return every pitcher from last season’s team. To go with Anderson, other arms include juniors Cody Arnold and Jake Carnley and sophomore twins Jeremiah and Lucas Windell. The pitchers will work with battery-mate Tyler Shewmaker, who returns for his sophomore year behind the plate.
Early in the spring, the Panthers have been working on offense.
‘We’re working on hitting and trying to build a lot of competition for some open spots in the field,’ Sipes said. ‘The one area we need to improve on is hitting. We really want to cut down on strikeouts and work on putting the ball in play and make defenses make plays.’
Junior center fielder Tyler Jones and fellow outfielder sophomore Jeff Durham provide lots of speed to the outfield and the base paths.
Overall, Sipes said if the hitting comes around, the Panthers should be tough for opponents to handle.
The Eagles are looking at replacing five starters off last season’s team, including four-year starters Cameron Teeter and John Kissel.
Back for coach Sean Smith are three seniors he will rely on for leadership: Jordan Sizemore, Tate Watson and Josh Bowman.
Sizemore leads the pitching staff as the top returning starter. Outside of pitching, Sizemore will play the middle infield positions and some center field. Watson takes over the catching duties for the departed Teeter. Bowman is slated to play third base and some outfield after sitting out most of last season with an injury.
‘Outside of those guys, we have four juniors and the rest are freshmen and sophomores,’ Smith said. ‘We’re kind of young but have experience, just not that much varsity game experience.’
On the hill, Sizemore will be joined by sophomore Caleb Caldwell, who gained experience last season.
‘Those guys should be solid,’ Smith said. ‘Hopefully, we can find a consistent third and fourth guy to eat up some innings. Overall, I think if we can get pitching to throw strikes and get us late into games, we should be successful.’
Smith hopes to iron out positions by the time the Southern Athletic Conference season rolls around.
‘I think we will be competitive in conference, but there are some really good teams,’ he said. ‘It could be wide open and, when sectional rolls around, hopefully, we can be competitive and have a shot to win it.’
North Harrison
The North Harrison Cougars enter the season with a young team that returns several pitchers from last season that should round out a solid rotation.
‘This is the first time since I’ve been at North Harrison that we can go six pitchers deep,’ coach Gregg Oppel said. ‘On any given day, I know these guys can get outs.’
Senior Chad Eveslage heads the group. Oppel said he worked all winter on arm strength and has increased speed on his fast ball. Junior Lincoln Jones and sophomore Michael Cox are two hard-throwing right handers. Jones battled a back injury last season and appears healthy this time around. Filling in middle relief roles will be sophomore Colin Book and a mix of Jared Smith and Jordan Robbeloth.
The staff could go seven deep, but junior Dylan Janes is recovering from arm surgery he had after basketball season. Oppel said he would miss the start of the season but is expected to return to the infield.
‘Dylan will be a key for us. He hit .500 as a sophomore and is a tremendous player,’ Oppel said.
Offensively, the Cougars have a lot returning. Oppel said the team would keep the same philosophy of playing small ball: utilizing bunting, hit and runs and stealing bases. Also this season, Oppel said the team has legit home-run power but will still focus on scoring runs via small ball.
The biggest question is at catcher, where three are vying for the position and may take several games to work itself out.
Team unity has also been positive.
‘Chemistry here is very exciting, and the guys feel like they are building not only as a team, but as people,’ Oppel said. ‘I tell them to not be afraid to make mistakes, as long as they bring it for seven innings.’
Oppel said the baseball diamond also was tinkered in the off-season, solving the drainage issue, so rainouts will hopefully be limited.
South Central
At South Central, the Rebels graduated a large group of successful seniors last season. Six starters will have to be replaced for coach Nick Tremain’s squad.
The Rebels have a good current senior duo to build around. Back is Southern Athletic Conference Player of the Year Elliot Thompson, a powerful hitter at the plate. Thompson also will shift to center field to lead the outfield.
Also back is three time All-SAC honoree Chip Hockenbury. The senior has been a mainstay on the mound for the Rebels and also provides a consistent bat.
‘Our two seniors will be four-year starters,’ Tremain said. ‘We look for them for leadership and productivity at the plate.’
The other returning starter is junior outfielder Josh Sams. South Central has just four upperclassmen this season; the rest are freshmen and sophomores.
‘The young guys will need to step up. We have guys from the junior varsity team last year and some incoming freshmen who can make an impact,’ Tremain said.
The coach said he feels the pitching staff will be one of the strengths behind the arm of Hockenbury.
‘We have some young arms, but they have seen little or no varsity action. If they develop, that should be a strength by the end of the year,’ the coach said.
Handling the catching duties will be freshman Spencer Ray.
‘I see a lot of potential as a team,’ Tremain said. ‘We are anxious and look forward to getting the season underway.’
Last season, the Rebels played long ball, setting the school record for home runs in a season. This year, South Central is working more on situational hitting to plate runs.