Silver Knights starting spring sports
Despite losing a lot of experience with graduating seniors, Tyler Consolidated’s returning starters, underclassmen prospects and new skipper are looking to right the ship.
In control will be new head coach Scott Wall who is anxious to get the season underway.
“I’m very excited. I can’t wait,” said Wall. “I’m a huge baseball fan. My first love was baseball. I’m just tickled to have the opportunity to work with these guys.”
The Silver Knights’ vessel will be co-captained by the likes of seniors Zach Perkey and Michael Cochran.
Perkey is coming off of one the finest individual seasons in Silver Knights history being selected to the first team all-OVAC and second team all-state. Cochran will support the Tyler Consolidated offense as he has one of the more consistent bats.
Perkey is a strong lefty who will also serve as the teams ace, but Wall knows that he will have to look to other people for his pitching staff. That’s where some of the youth comes in as two of their hurlers are freshmen and one is a sophomore. What could give opposing batters problems is the staff’s diversity between lefties and righties.
“We’ve got six guys that we’ve been working with, two of which are freshmen,” said Wall.
“If we are thin it might be more in relief than starters. We have three real strong left-handed starters and three decent right handed starters. We’re hoping for big things out of those guys.”
Junior Zack Minger, another lefty, will be the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation. He played baseball over the summer and fall which will hopefully lead to increased production this season.
He will be followed by sophomore Blaise Rice, senior Stephen Postlethwait, and freshmen Justin Carpenter and Dalton Wells.
Sophomore Garrett Amos is expected to receive the pitches at the catcher position, but expect Dalton Wells, junior Brandon Grimes and sophomore Cody Laugh to compete for some innings played.
In the infield, first base will be controlled by Perkey or Minger depending on who is pitching.
Another sophomore Zack Knowlton will play alongside either one of them at second base.
Helping him in the middle at shortstop will initially be Laugh.
Last year’s starter Brody Northcraft has been out with a shoulder injury but it is hopeful he will return to the lineup before the season ends.
At the other hot corner, Grimes and Rice will battle for the position.
In the outfield, Cochran will take over left field once again, with Minger in centerfield and Stephen Postlethwait at the nine-spot in right field.
A hand full of other players could see time in the outfield including Justin Cooper, Josh Foland, Nate Bolin, Wells, Grimes, and Carpenter.In terms of offense, Perkey, Cochran and Minger will be the strong hitters, but with the youth of the team, Wall expects the production to come elsewhere.
“I’d like to say we’re a power team, but realistically I think we’re going to have to move baserunners,” Wall said.
“We’re going to have to generate our offense, especially as we go through the bottom half of our lineup. We’re mostly sophomores, so the power is not there yet. We’ve got great team speed though, and that’s something we’re going to really work on utilizing this year.”
Assisting Wall will be Gene Rice and John Lantz. Together the group thinks that things are on the rise and they’re turning the corner.
“I think it’s realistic to win half our games this year,” said Wall on goals for the season. “The foundation is there. A lot of guys that played year round are going to be counted on. We’ve got a real good nucleus in place.
“We’re a young team. We lost a bunch of seniors, four or five graduating seniors, who started.
“We’re very heavy with our sophomores, but we’ve been lucky that they’re very cooperative. They’re ready to learn and ready to work.”