Wolves Excited for 2022 Season
Published 6:39 am Saturday, January 29, 2022
WESSON – Co-Lin Baseball is looking to build upon a 2021 season that saw the Wolves finish with an overall record of 19-24 but 15-13 in conference play. The Wolves made the playoffs last season but came just short of making the Region 23 Tournament field. This year the Wolves goal is to get beyond where they were last season.
“Our expectations do not change for our team each year,” said Co-Lin head coach Clay Smith. “We have goals every year and we are shooting for those which are to win as many games as possible and get a postseason berth which gives us a chance to play in the national tournament.”
The 2022 version of the Wolves baseball team is also coming off a fall that saw the squad play a full schedule and Smith said that time was very important for his team. “The biggest thing is that our guys were here on campus and got to spend time together and build bonds and chemistry as a team,” said Smith. “Being able to spend the whole fall together was huge and we were able to get our guys some playing time and they got to learn and adjust to the speed of the game while also getting some exposure to coaches at four-year schools, which is our ultimate goal for the fall.”
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The Wolf Pack roster of 30 players features 14 sophomores including 12 returning players and two transfers along with 16 freshmen. Coach Smith and the Wolves staff, including new first year assistant coaches CJ Estave and Zach Bennet, are excited about what both groups bring to the team. “We have some very talented guys on this team, and if we are able to put it together on the field then we should have a good season.”
“We have a really good group of freshmen that have come in this year, and they are really mature,” stated Smith. “They do a really good job both on and off the field and they are also a very talented bunch of players. We are excited about our fans getting to see them play this spring.”
“Our sophomore group that is coming back is full of leaders and guys that had a lot of playing time last season,” said Smith. “These guys take care business like we expect them to do. On top of their athletic talent and ability, these guys also stepped up from a leadership standpoint during the fall and I am excited to see that happen.”
In 2021, the Wolves hit 33 homers and posted a team batting average of .273 with 201 RBIs. The Wolves will see some of their biggest offensive threats returning this year as they bring back hitters who totaled eight home runs, 81 RBIs, and two of the top three individual batting averages from last season.
Tom Biggs, a redshirt sophomore infielder and pitcher from Columbia, Louisiana, led the team in batting average last season at .360. The Stephen F. Austin university commit also accounted for three home runs and was second on the team in RBI and stolen bases with 32 and 13 respectively. Biggs also posted a .971 fielding percentage for the Wolf Pack last season.
Kenner Bizot, a sophomore utility player from Wesson, had the third highest average last season at .316. The Mississippi College commit also posted three home runs, four doubles, and 25 RBI, while also posting a .983 fielding percentage.
Brady Spring, a sophomore infielder from Brookhaven, transferred to Co-Lin from Jones College and brings a season’s worth of experience to the team. As a freshman, Spring posted a .233 batting average with five doubles, 14 RBI, and seven stolen bases. The Freed-Hardeman University commit also posted a .989 fielding percentage during his freshman season.
“Kenner and Tom were both voted by our players as team captains and they are important players for us,” Smith said. “Brady has also come in and made an impact for us. It is good to see our guys finding the right fit for them at the next level. We have a few more sophomores that we think will sign in the spring while they are stepping up and having a good season for us.”
Reed Barlow, a sophomore outfielder from Florence, returns with a .280 batting average with one triple and 2 RBI while Noah Freeman, a sophomore outfielder from Mendenhall, is coming back after hitting .234 during the 2021 season with one home run and eight RBI. Braydon Muse, a sophomore catcher from Florence, is another familiar face for Wolf Pack fans and brings back a .211 batting average with two home runs and nine RBI.
DJ Walker, a sophomore outfielder from Brandon, transferred to the Wolves from Panola College in Texas. During his freshman season, Walker posted a .250 batting average with four doubles, one triple, and seven RBI while also posting a .980 fielding percentage.
When talking about the incoming freshmen group, Smith said he is encouraged by what he saw from them during the fall and had this to say about what fans should expect from that group. “We have a lot of freshman pitchers that are going to have some big roles for us during the season and we are still working on establishing some of those roles.”
“Kade Parker (Cadeville, Louisiana) has come in and done really well. We expect him to play infield and to pitch for us this season,” added Smith. “We have had a couple of outfielders that had a good fall and one of those is Harrison Mohead (Madison). We have had some other guys that did not statistically have the best fall, but they have plugged in and shown great energy and leadership for our team.”
“I am really excited about our freshmen pitchers because they did a great job this fall of buying in and getting after it for us despite being thrown into the fire early,” stated Smith.
The schedule for the Wolf Pack features contest against multiple ranked opponents during conference play and a non-conference schedule that Smith believes will get his team ready for the tough conference schedule. “Our league is arguably the top division two baseball league in the country. There is no question that whoever comes out of our region has a good chance at winning a national championship,” added Smith. “Winning the region is one of our goals for the season. There are so many good teams in our league and if people have not come out to watch it then they are missing out on good baseball.”
“Every team in this league has good facilities and the teams are full of good players who are well coached by some of the best coaches in the nation,” said Smith. “We have a really good brand of baseball at the junior college level in our state. Our non-conference schedule is full of quality teams that will get us ready to play in the best NJCAA division two league in the country.”
The Wolves open the season with a road contest facing off against Dyersburg State Community College at USA Stadium in Millington, Tennessee, on Tuesday, February 8. The home opener for the Wolves will be on Saturday, February 12 against Mineral Area College (MO).