TROJANS HAVE FOLLOWED THE LEAD OF SPENCER
By Mike Talbert
The best home run hitter on the Bruce Trojan baseball team, Anthony Spencer, leads the squad with five dingers. He also has a team-high .709 slugging percentage.
Yet he bats leadoff, and has only 20 RBI for a very good reason.
“He is our team sparkplug. He just makes things happen when he leads off,” Bruce coach Donnie Logan said. “We have only lost one game this year when he scored in his first at bat.”
Getting Spencer on first is almost as good as getting him on second. He has 34 stolen bases in as many attempts. Ten times he has stolen third base. His base running antics have led to a whopping 44 runs as the Trojans have gone 18-7 overall and 10-4 in Division 2-2A.
Spencer had shown his base-stealing talent last season with 26 steals, but got picked off three times.
“This year he is a senior and is playing smarter so he got the green light at the start of the year. He has a lot of game smarts,” Logan said.
The Trojans have quietly taken care of business in a crowded division race for second place with Calhoun City, North Pontotoc and East Union. All had a shot until the final week of the season. Bruce captured the runner-up spot as Spencer went 7-for-11 and hit four homers in four games.
Bruce will open the Class 2A playoffs with a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday at Mooreville.
“That will be good for our kids, with all the tradition that Mooreville has,” Logan said.
Bruce is not a one-player team. It is batting .322 as a whole and is led in RBI with 35 from Freddie Bullard and 32 from Carlos Armstrong.
“We have seven starters hitting over .300 and that has made a big difference,” Logan said.
To back them up, the Trojans also have developed two solid pitchers, Armstrong (5-1) and sophomore Brian Hunsucker, who has come into his own this season.
Hunsucker has 9-1 record, although he has only 35 strikeouts to Armstrong’s 44 and 65 for Freddie Bullard (4-4).
“He’s about 5-10 and doesn’t weigh over 135 pounds soaking wet, but he keeps the ball down and plays smart,” Logan said. “He’s not overpowering and gets a lot of ground balls and he pitches to the spots.”
Logan said that senior catcher Casey Clark’s job of working with the young pitcher has made him valuable even though he has struggled at the plate. “He has left his offensive problems in the dugout when he plays defense, and has done an excellent job,” Logan said.