High School Baseball Teams To Watch

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

Amory Panthers
- Coach: Chad Williams

- Division: 4-4A

- 2010 Record: 27-7, lost in state championship series.

- The Players: P/1B Will Cox, sr.; SS/P Forest Williams, jr.; 2B Ryan Hill, sr; OF/P Chandler Riggs, sr.; OF, John Randle, sr.

- Quick Hits: Cox, a Mississippi State signee, posted a 13-1 record with a 0.72 ERA and 142K in 96 2/3 innings last year. … Cox and the rest of the Amory pitching staff are throwing to a new catcher. With standout Zack Randolph having graduated, look for sophomore Hayden Williams to fulfill the catching duties.

Bruce Trojans
- Coach: Sid Burt n Division: 2-2A

- 2010 Record: 24-6, lost in North championship series.

- The Players: SS/P Jay King, jr.; 3B/P Chase Clark, jr.; 1B/DH Matthew McDowell, sr.; 2B/SS/OF Barrett Wooten, sr.; 1B/OF Wiley Maddox, jr.; P/CF Reed Gregory, jr.

- Quick Hits: 2010 Daily Journal All-Area pitcher Caleb Hanley graduated, but the Trojans still have plenty of talent. King will be the No. 1 starter with Gregory No. 2. … King batted .500, posted an on-base percentage of .573 and slugged .750. … The Trojans play in a difficult division with the likes of Hamilton (2010 state runner-up) and East Webster.

Hamilton Lions
- Coach: Lewis Earnest n Division: 2-2A
- 2010 Record: 22-6, lost in state championship series.
- The Players: OF/P Chase Reeves, sr.; 2B/1B Austin Welch, jr.; Austin Earnest P/1B/2B, sr.

- Quick Hits: Reeves, an Ole Miss signee, and Earnest, who played third base last year, will be the Lions’ main pitchers. … The Lions feature 16 upperclassmen. … Earnest’s squad began the season with a 9-6 victory over Saltillo.

Houston Hilltoppers
- Coach: Scott Gann

- Division: 4-4A

- 2010 Record: 8-18, no playoffs.

- The Players: P/OF Ben Uhiren, sr.; C/P/UTL Jacob Shempert, jr.; P Will Faulkner, jr.; OF Wesley Smith, sr.

- Quick Hits: Faulkner, a RHP, throws pretty hard and has solid second and third pitches. … Smith, the Hilltoppers cleanup hitter, hits with power from the left side. … The Hilltoppers don’t have a set pitching rotation yet. … Uhiren can hit for average and score a lot of runs.

Mantachie Mustangs
- Coach: Scott Collier

- Division: 1-2A

- 2010 Record: 21-4, lost in first round of playoffs.

- The Players: P/3B Collin Minga, sr.; 3B/CF/P Chance Cooley, sr.; LF/C Shawn Thompson, sr.; SS Zack McCoy, sr.

- Quick Hits: Minga was a 2010 Daily Journal All-Area selection. … The Mustangs hit .347 as a team in 2010. … Exceptional hitters Jake Layman and Jeremy Warren graduated in May. .. This is Cooley’s fifth year to start. … Collier believes this year’s schedule is the toughest the Mustangs have had in his 11 seasons at the helm.

Mooreville Troopers
- Coach: Jamie Russell

- Division: 2-3A

- 2010 Record: 26-4, lost in second round of playoffs.

- The Players: P/SS Channing Nanney, sr.; P/3B/OF Drew Wheeler, sr.; C Tyler Moore, sr.; OF Gary Johnson, sr.

- Quick Hits: Russell felt his team was struggling a little bit with its hitting during the preseason. … Johnson (knee) will be out until the middle of this month. … 2010 D.M. Howie All-Star selections Tyler Awtrey and Taylor Dickerson have graduated.

New Albany Bulldogs
- Coach: John Walker

- Division: 1-4A

- 2010 Record: 13-11, no playoffs.

- The Players: P/OF Tyler Beaty, sr.; P Tyler Basil, sr.; 2B Drew Wray, sr.; C Riley Alef, jr.

- Quick Hits: The Bulldogs lost three pretty good players to graduation: catcher Corey Smith, No. 2 starting pitcher Andrew Tunnell and right fielder Cody McCullough. However, Walker will have seven players this year – most of those who are returning starters – that played in at least 20 games in 2010. … The Bulldogs will be really strong up the middle defensively. … Health may be a concern for the Bulldogs in the early going, especially with DH J.D Morris (elbow) and third baseman Andrew Ballard (rotator cuff).

Shannon Red Raiders
- Coach: Jacob Bruce

- Division: 1-4A

- 2010 Record: 7-16, no playoffs

- The Players: SS/P Jake Scott, sr.; OF Kyle Leslie, sr.; OF Shawn Goree, sr.; INF/P Blake Saylors, sr.

- Quick Hits: In the ultra-competitive Division 1-4A, New Albany coach John Walker expects the Red Raiders to be pretty good this year. “We got high expectations,” says Bruce. … The Red Raiders have seven seniors. … Scott, an ICC signee, led the team in hitting (.405 batting average) in 2010. … Without a true ace, the Red Raiders will likely “pitch by committee,” Bruce said.

Tupelo Golden Wave
- Coach: Gary Enis

- Division: 2-6A

- 2010 Record: 22-9, lost in the North championship series.

- The Players: P/RF/1B Cody Shrewsbury, sr.; P/C Ben Hudspeth, sr.; P/1B J.D. Roberts, sr.; P/CF William Goss, sr.; P/INF Jack Hill, sr.

- Quick Hits: The Golden Wave returns most of its pitching from 2010, including four starters who combined for 19 wins. … Shrewsbury was a 2010 Daily Journal All-Area selection. … The Wave won its first two games, outscoring Mooreville and Hatley by a combined 22-5.

Tupelo Christian Prep Eagles
- Coach: Will Lowrey

- Division: 4-1A

- 2010 Record: 15-10, lost in second round of playoffs.

- The Players: P/INF Will Cockrell, sr.; P/3B Drew Carter, soph.; CF Jager Livingston, sr.; LF Clint McGraw, sr.; C Andrew Soper, soph.

- Quick Hits: The Eagles are off to a 3-0 start this season. Lowrey, who is in his first season at the helm, expects division foe Smithville to be very competitive. … The 6-3, 220-pound Cockrell has already hit 90 MPH on the radar gun. … Cockrell, Carter and Zachary Bridges are the Eagles’ top 3 pitchers and should have plenty of run support coming from a loaded lineup.

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