February 22, 2012
The Pirate baseball team at Granbury High School is ready to take the mound with a combination of experienced and young players.
“We are relatively young . . . However, I do like the guys we have out. I think there is a solid core of everyday starters who can get the job done,” commented head coach Brad Hart, who is assisted by Brad Eppler, junior varsity coaches Trent Phillips and Kit Langdon, and athletic trainer Andy Rankin.
The varsity players are seniors Lucas Baker, Chris Drysdale, Wade McClintock, and Brent Sanborn; juniors Caleb Bendewald, Joe Bullock, Harrison Campbell, Ryan Hudson, Jarrod Jeffery, Brady Retz, Daniel Stephens, and Miles Wagner; sophomores Daniel Arnett and Nathan Hickey; and freshman Payton Rhodes.
Of the group, six – Bullock, Drysdale, McClintock, Retz, Sanborn, and Wagner – are returning starters. Hickey, who played some varsity games last season, and Arnett, moving up from the junior varsity, are expected to be strong varsity players along with newcomers Baker and Rhodes.
“We have a lot of experienced pitchers back . . . [A]ll of them saw a lot of time on the mound last years,” stated Hart. “Our strength as a staff will be working fast and throwing strikes. We can get hitter to hit the pitches we want them to.”
As far as hitting, the head coach commented. “We worked all fall on basic hitting fundamentals. I think we have a chance of hitting for a higher average than we had last year. We are really focusing on hitting better with runners in scoring position as well as getting runners in scoring position by being able to execute offensively with runners on base.”
“I think the defense has the potential to be very solid,” Hart said. “We can be a great defensive team as long as we make the routine play at least 95% of the time for the entire season.”
Assisting the varsity group are statisticians Aubrey Reinhardt and Brittani Tamayo, managers Quade Gibson and Tanner Winn, and student athletic trainer Cody Reynolds.
On the junior varsity squads are:
District 7-4A play will begin in early March, with the Pirates facing Arlington Seguin, Burleson, Cleburne, Crowley, Everman, Joshua, and Mansfield Summit in a round-robin format.
“District will be tough as usual,” said Hart, who expects strong play from most district teams. He scheduled an extremely strong non-district schedule to prepare the boys for district with the hopes of securing a post-season berth.
The Pirates will host the Granbury Classic Chevrolet Tournament on February 23-25 competing with Abilene Cooper, Fort Worth Country Day, Fort Worth Paschal, and Stephenville.
“”It all comes down to how much can we learn and improve on before we play Cleburne that first district game,” the coach remarked. “It we are committed to actually doing things on offense to get guys in scoring position and having guys who want to hit and drive in runs . . . we will be will be a tough team [combined] with our pitching.”