Diamond Tigers use summer as springboard into next season

RIPLEY– The Ripley Tiger baseball team recently completed a month of summer baseball as they got an early start to the 2010 baseball season. The Tigers played 15 ball games during the month of June, hovering at the .500 mark with eight wins to seven losses. Wins are the top priority during the regular season, but in the off-season, Tiger baseball coach Jamie Russell said the focus is on preparation and finding players to fill spots left open by his graduating seniors. amp”We always want to win, but we’re mainly working,amp” said Russell. amp”We’re trying to get better and trying to find some guys to fill some positions. We want to see who can hit, who can pitch, and who can catch. We’re mainly just working on next year.amp” This past spring, the Tigers finished with a record of 12-14 and a second consecutive trip to the MHSAA Class 3A playoffs, where they lost to Mooreville in the first round. Russell lost six seniors to graduation and five of the seniors were selected as All Division players. Catcher Will Wallis, who led the team in home runs (5) and pitcher Jase Wilbanks, who finished with a 6-1 record were first-team selections. amp”Everybody got work at different positions, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,amp” Russell said. amp”We have to find some guys to step up that want to play, and right now it’s still a toss up. Nobody really did anything special that we didn’t expect.amp” In the Tigers final game of the summer they came from behind to beat the New Albany Bulldogs 4-3. Senior Chanson Jeter drove in three of the four runs on the day. After his towering 2-run home run gave the Tigers their first lead at 3-2 in the fourth inning, Jeter hit a single for the game-winning hit in the bottom of the sixth.

Kedrick Storey