The Clarkrange baseball team opens their baseball season today on the road at Jackson County at 6 P.M. in Gainesboro. Head coach Shane Monday lost six seniors off of last years team, five of which were starters, that went 8-17, 3-7. Monday returns only three starters off of last years squad.
“We have so good boys coming up,” Monday said. “We just don’t have a lot of experience. My three seniors: Elijah Stout, Noah Sisco, and Cavin Stephens will be the nucleus of our team. Junior Hunter Harrison, started last season, and Reed Bilbrey will step into a starting role. Coby Stephens started games for us last year and will start for us again this year.”
Monday pointed out that the speed of his team on the bases would be a key for his offensive production this year.
“We are going to have to play the speed game,” Monday said. “We do have some speed if we can just make contact.”
With the pitching rules the way they are per the TSSAA, Monday finds himself juggling the rotation and line up when a move needs to be made in game.
“In our situation, when we move a pitcher we have to move several spots,” Monday said. “We don’t have somebody that can come in and just start pitching. We probably have about five starting pitchers but when we move one we have to move a lot of pieces around. We try nd keep our guys under the two day pitch count. We don’t have the luxury of sitting someone for, four days.”
Monterey and Gordonsville have been two of the top teams in District Six, Single A for the past several years. The Buffaloes were able to win some game late last season to finish fourth in district play.
“The coaches in my district are just so seasoned,” Monday said. “They are all outstanding and run great programs.”
Monday state the biggest challenge for his team is the lack of a feeder program and year around baseball in Clarkrange.
“It’s a hurdle that we have to try and overcome,” Monday said. “If they play Little League or Babe Ruth they have to go to Jamestown. Every onec and a while we will have one or two go into Putnam County and play in Monterey. Most of them when they come in as freshmen they have little experience or have not played. It takes a little while because we are in a condensed three months. We are not complaining at all. We go out and do what we can do.”
Monday did say that they have one luxury that he and his boys take full advantage of as much as they can.
“It’s a gem in our program that I’m real tickled with,” Monday said. “Coach Brent Bush. He played at Upperman and was 1993 Mr. Baseball in Class Single A. He knows the game. He is so knowledgeable. He calls all of our pitches and does all of our signs. I tell the boys this all the time. You need to be thankful of Coach Bush. He knows the game and he does so much for us. He does it all. He’s a situation coach, a skill coach. He has all the fundamentals down. The boys draw from that. He’s such a good role model and he is everything we could ask of. I’m very thankful for him. He’s a friend of mind and he is really good to the boys.”