Winning attitude key to Knight wins
Thirteen ball players will make up the 2011 Tyler Consolidated High School varsity baseball squad, thirteen who are determined to make their presence known in the Ohio Valley.
“There is a good attitude amongst the players and the entire squad is bonding well together,” said first year head coach Gene Rice. “This years teams’ mindset is the best I have seen since I have been coaching here.”
Rice takes the helm of the Silver Knight hard-ballers after holding down the assistant’s position for the last three years.
Skilled players lost to graduation last year include All-Valley first team, Zach Minger; second team All-Valley, Brody Northcraft; and Special Honorable mention, Brandon Grimes.
“We look to feed off of last seasons’ success and work hard to improve,” coach Rice said. “We have a grueling schedule with no time to spare and will probably have to depend on some good defense to have any success.”
“The loss of Minger, Northcraft and Grimes leaves big holes in our line up. Not only that, when you lose your one, three and four hole hitters, it’s tough to replace those sticks. Game management will have to be at its best in order to win.”
The Silver Knights will be led on the field this season by four returning seniors with experience: Garrett Amos (catcher/first base), Blaise Rice (pitcher/3rd base), Zack Knowlton (2nd base/outfield) and Cody Laugh (utility). Senior Jeremy Headley (1stbase/outfield) also joins the team.
Junior lettermen returning to the diamond include Justin Carpenter (pitcher/1st base); and Dalton Wells (pitcher/third base); and Dakota Allen (second base/outfield). Junior Jae Hyung Kim (outfield) joins the team this season as an upper classman.
Sophomore letter winner, Dalton Parsons (pitcher/catcher/outfield) will see plenty of playing time along with fellow sophomore, Koty Martin (pitcher/outfield).
Two freshmen join the hardball ranks in Evan Davis (second base/outfield); and Isaac Michael (2nd base/outfield).
Last year, Tyler Consolidated amassed a record of 11 wins and 18 losses and were swept in the Sectional playoffs by up river rivals, Magnolia. This year, the team is looking to not only improve on the numbers in the win column, but make some noise in the post season as well.
With three, four and at times, five games a week, the Consolidated pitching staff is likely to grow thin during the season. A heavy load will be placed on returners to the mound Rice, Wells and Carpenter with Martin and Parsons about to see their time in the rotation stepped up as well.
“Our team strengths are good attitudes amongst the players and the entire squad bonding well together,” the coach said. “The players are challenging each other to step up to a different level of play.”
“Each player has accepted that challenge and are working hard.”
“This is a close knit team. Not I or me, but us and we. The basic fundamentals of the game are being re-introduced and how the game should be played with strategies to win.”
The team has big plans this season, not only to fill up the win column, but also to make forward strides in the baseball program at the school.
The Silver Knights will start the 2011 show on their own home diamon on March 19 when they host the Oak Glen Golden Bears in a double header at noon. On March 21 te team will travel to St. Marys and will host Williamstown on March 22 in a 5 p.m. game.
On March 23 the Silver Knights are scheduled to host the Cameron Dragons and will play at Magnolia on March 24.