By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
Consistency was not the hallmark of the 2012 Northeast Community College Tigers baseball team.
But when the Tigers where healthy and at their best, they were good enough to qualify for the post-season after failing to do so a year ago.
The Tigers post-season was short, a 2-0 series loss at Gulf Coast in the first round of the MACJC State Tournament. But for Northeast head coach Kent Farris, that did not take away from the positive strides the squad made during the season.
“Making the playoffs was one of our goals,” Northeast coach Kent Farris said. “We played well at times, but never had consistency.
“Sure we’re disappointed with how we did in the state tournament. But nine of our sophomores have signed with four-year schools, and that speaks well of our program.”
Farris pointed to the efforts at the plate of players like sophomores Corey Smith (.311 batting average) from New Albany, Trae Allison from Hernando, and Taylor Bonifacio.
“Bonifacio did so many little things for us at the plate,” Farris said.
Farris also liked the strides taken by freshmen Josh Mills (.316) from Lafayette, and Will Robertson from Falkner.
On the mound, Farris like the form of Daymon Eriksen (5-3, 2.58 ERA) from Collierville, Tn., as he rebounded from an injury.
“Daymon Eriksen was finally back to where we expected him to be,” Farris said. “And Beau Cummings (Myrtle) was throwing as well as anybody at the end of the year.”
But now Farris is already looking to 2013, when the Tigers (16-30) should have 18 players returning.
“They’ve gotten a taste of the playoffs, which should be a motivation for next year,” Farris said. “We’re hoping their leadership will be beneficial to the incoming freshmen.”
Along with Mills and Robertson, Farris is already expecting big things from the likes of Jake Beck from Alcorn Central and Chris Aichinger from Ga. The Northeast recruiting class is led by Riley Alef and Easton Hall, both from New Albany, as well as other Bulldogs and players from Corinth, Kossuth, and Lafayette.
“Winning is not a goal, it is a result of doing things the right way,” Farris said. “The summer is so important for these guys, we just have to keep their nose to the grindstone.”