Knights baseball team returns experienced eight
In his third year as head coach for the Tyler Consolidated Silver Knight baseball team, Robby Jones has all his ducks in order as far as what he expects from his charges this year. “We hope to continue to grow as a program,” he said. “The team has worked extremely hard in the offseason and so far in practice to get better everyday.”
That is what Jones will be looking for, players that are willing to work hard, get better, and go places.
After graduating seniors Evan Davis and Isaac Michael last year, the Silver Knights return a nice group of experienced players willing to go the extra mile in order to see success: one senior, five juniors, two sophomores, and will add five freshmen to the mix.
The lone senior on the team, Jacob Stackpole, returns as a second baseman for the Knight club.
The bulk of the experience on the team belongs to the five juniors who all return:
Jordan Baker was selected as a first team OVAC player last year, LKC special honorable mention and had All-State honorable mention, as well, and returns to the diamond as a strong shortstop and dependable starting pitcher.
Colby Lash, Knight center fielder and second baseman, received honorable mentions in the LKC, OVAC, and All-State; Austin Thompson, first base, received honorable mentions in the LKC, OVAC, and All-State; Dillon Glover, who will catch, DH, and play the infield; and Ty Pratt, who will see time in the infield as well as a designated hitter on the offense.
The sophomore delegation of Trent Smith and Nate Lantz will see quality time in the game this season, with Smith looking for a starting position in right field and first base, and as a pitcher for the Silver; and Lance who will contest third base.
Thus far untried freshmen will look to earn starting slots wherever available: Colby Buchanan, catcher; Kyle Mason, utility; Luke Daugherty, pitcher, utility; Dylan Roberts, short stop, outfield; and Mark Wilson, pitcher, second base.
“We will lean heavily on our junior class,” coach Jones said. “Baker is returning as the number one guy on the mound.
“We have six guys who will be three year starters this year and eight more who have at least one year of starting experience under their belt.
“The freshman class is loaded with potential and will be counted on to play substantial innings.”
While the stats on paper look good thus far, Jones and Assistant Coach Vance Ash will plan on a strong showing from every one in the pre-season, looking for relief pitchers, strong arm catchers, and hand/eye coordination at the plate with the bat in their hands.
The Silver Knights finished at 9-13 last year and were eliminated in the Sectionals by St. Marys. This season, the team is planning on a more successful regular season and a longer post-season.[TABULATED_DATA]