Wolfpack baseball ready to get started

Published 12:18 am Thursday, January 29, 2009

WESSON — It may still be chilly outside, but spring is in the air at Co-Lin Community College as the baseball team prepares to start its season.

The Wolfpack is less than two weeks away from it’s first set of games, a 2:30 p.m. doubleheader against Faulkner State and East Mississippi Community College in Scooba.

And the team full of newcomers is anxious to get started.

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“Every position player we’ve got will be new to the starting lineup this year,” coach Keith Case said. “That’s causing us some gray hairs. We finished 6-3 in the fall. But the spring’s a different time, and when the other team shows up you don’t know how these guys are going to react.”

Cameron Logan, of Natchez High, is a returning player at first base, but he never started in the position. He was designated hitter a couple times but has never been in the starting lineup.

“He started out really strong for us but ended up hitting .265 — the numbers went down toward the latter part of the year,” Case said. “But he had a great fall for us.”

Logan’s brother, Kendall Logan, has joined the team and will play in the outfield.

Former Natchez High Bulldog Matthew Freeman is also playing for Co-Lin this season.

“He was area Player of the Year last year, and he will be playing third base for us,” Case said. “I’ve been really impressed with him offensively. He swings the bat well, and we’re really pleased with the direction he’s heading.”

Adams County Christian’s Luke Brumfield will be at shortstop this season, and two Franklin County players are also new to the team.

Ryan Tutor will play outfield and catch, and Cable McMinn will play first base and start in the lineup as designated hitter.

Case said with so many freshmen starting, the going might be rough to start.

“It’s a tough situation, but it’s one we’re going to use as a learning curve,” Case said. “Hopefully by the middle to end of the year we’ll be a lot different team.”

Co-Lin lost a lot of solid players in the offseason, including Rawlins Gold Glove National Player of the Year Steven Gauthé at shortstop, who signed with Nicholls State.

Third baseman Timmy Foster, of Natchez, led the Wolfpack in hitting last year with a .356 average and homeruns, and he was all-state and all-region.

Foster signed with Belhaven College.

“We finished tied for second in the South last year. We had a good run at it,” Case said. “That’s some big shoes to fill, especially when you’ve got that many newcomers coming at one time.”

Case said he hates being in a situation with few veteran starters, but it’s part of the nature of junior college athletics.

“It’s tough when the longest you’re going got have those guys is two years, and at times, you only have them for a one-year period.”

The saving grace this season, he said, will be the pitching staff, which has the most veterans.

Joseph Evans and Fred Hartzog both went 6-3 last season and will anchor the pitching staff, but Case said he’s got five guys returning with a combined 3.36 ERA.

“(Brock) Campbell is our No. 1 reliever out of the pen, and he had an ERA of 2.63 last season,” Case said. “Right now, they’re our base, and we’re building off that because they’re the strongest part of our squad.”

Case said the pitchers are ahead of the curve in practice because of some unseasonable warm weather experienced in Wesson recently.

They’ve been able to run some scrimmages and get some real-time pitching out of the staff, he said.

“We have a nine-man staff right now,” Case said. “We’d love to have it in the 11- or 12-man range, but all nine guys can pitch, and we’re pleased with where they are. They’re ahead of the game right now. Now we’ve just got to catch up with offense and defense.”