2014 FALL SEASON WRAP UP
LAWSON STATE BASEBALL
According to Doug Kovash, second-year head coach, the LSCC Baseball team has a chance of being a good baseball team this spring. We played 15 scrimmage games this fall against some pretty darn good competition and held our own. Comparing our talent level and performance level from our first year on the job, we are light years ahead of where we ended last fall.
Although the team finished this fall with a 7-8 over-all scrimmage record, don’t let that fool you. “We asked a lot of our young team this fall to play such a strong schedule,” said Coach K. The team beat defending 2013 ACCC North Division Champions and regular NJCAA World Series participant, Shelton State, three out of four times. They also beat the 2013 NJCAA National Championship team – Central Alabama Community College (CACC) - at Samford University in September. In addition, the team competed well against Division I Jackson State University (MS) who played in a NCAA Regional Tournament last year, as well as NCAA Division III powerhouse Birmingham Southern College in October.
The quality and depth of our squad is greatly improved in every way from a year ago. “We are physically stronger, added more team speed, hit with more power, and have increased our velocity and pitching depth on the bump,” remarked Coach K. This should be an exciting team to watch during the spring of 2015.
16 talented new players have challenged the returning nine veterans for playing time and spots on the field. It has been a very competitive fall and it is likely that several new players will make an immediate impact. It was also exciting to see a few of the sophomores return to campus physically stronger and more seasoned after playing summer ball. They have cemented themselves in the lineup.
Look for Trey Johns (Sophomore RHP) to anchor the starting rotation. He is the lone returning pitcher and will log a ton of innings. Luke Hastings (sophomore 3B/RHP) is the only returning ACCC North Division All-Conference player as a 3B. From what we have seen this fall, Luke is arguably the best 3B in the North and one of the best in the state. Juan Givan, transferred from UAB last January and became a hit immediately. The switch-hitting (SS/2B) led the 2014 team in hitting with a .307 average. He will move over to SS during the spring of ’15 from 2B where he played every day last season. Givan just signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Division I Southland conference powerhouse Nicholls State (LA).
Scott Falkinburg (Sophomore RHP/CF) will pick up where he left off last spring emerging as one of the most consistent starters down the stretch. Scott is our gold glover in centerfield and will see time out there as well. Angel Castillo (Sophomore C/RHP) made strides in both areas this Fall and will see time behind the dish and in relief, while Luke Ates (Sophomore 3B/2B), and sophomore outfielders, Mason Schoettlin, Eric Yarbrough and D.D. Adkison are fighting for opportunities with three new players for time in the outfield.
Newcomers, LaDeavon Matthews (OF/1B), Russell Phillips (1B), Jared Benson (2B), Caleb Ledbetter (2B), Dallas Oliver (UTIL/RHP), DeMarcus Kelly (OF), and Gentry Ford (C) all made favorable impressions as position players this fall and will play a bunch in the spring. Coach K was pleased to see every player improve over the past three months. At this point, Spencer Black (C) and Cody Cox (SS) will come off the bench to help the team defensively.
Seven first year players will see time pitching, and despite their inexperience, will be counted on to start, pitch in middle relief, and/or close. Seth McWaters (RHP) & Nick DeSantis (RHP) were impressive and will start in the spring with Johns and Falkinburg. Several other (RHP’s), Andrew Faulkner, Kyle Underwood, Kelby Hallmark, and Ben Swicord plus (LHP) Jacob Crow will see time out of the pen or close as needed.
Overall, the 2015 team has good team speed, great depth in the outfield and a strong middle infield, improved arm strength on the mound, better hitters and stronger power hitters. We should be able to generate some offense, steal some bags, and will put the ball in the hands of six pitchers and expect to win. Our goal is to become the first Lawson State baseball team to reach the ACCC state tournament. We expect to be there in May!
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