Patriots return experienced crew
The Fort Dorchester baseball team returns six starters this season and all of them have some pitching experience.
“Pitching should be a strength for us and we return our top four hitters from last season,” Patriot coach Jack Radcliffe said. “We are slowly jelling as a team. By mid-season we should be in good shape.”
Radcliffe is expecting big things from shortstop Ryan Boyle and outfielder Corey Rawlings. Both have been team leaders since the 2011 season when they received All-state honors.
First baseman Cody Meree and designated hitter Malik Grant are also back after finishing last season among the Patriots' top hitters. The teams' other returning starters are infielder Josh Murray and outfielder Myles Snype.
Boyle enters this season as the Fort's ace and Rawlings and Murray bring a lot of pitching experience to the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the rotation. Meree saw limited action on the hill last season but is looking to do more pitching this year.
During the Goose Creek American Legion Pre-season Tournament Rawlings picked up a win over Cane Bay and Boyle struck out 11 batters against Berkeley.
In the field, the Patriots only start one senior, Boyle. Meree and Grant will split time at first base while Murray and eighth-grader Drew Yniest will split time at second. Charlie Cooper will man the hot corner and freshman Ryan Thomas will catch.
Rawlings will anchor the outfield. Myles Snype will man right field while Austin McClung and Yniesta will split time in leftfield.
Sophomore Eurndraus Bryant (6-2, 360) also stands to see some action as a DH/first baseman. Others vying for playing time include Mike Maiorelle, Jaxon Anderson, Travis Sturdivant, Austin Jones, Tyler Jones and Mamie Mazyck.
The Patriots had success in spurts last season but struggled once region play arrived. They missed the playoffs after going 2-6 in region play.
This year Bluffton joins Region 8-AAAA and the competition should remain stiff. However, not all of the other teams in the region have the experience they had last season.
“Region play will be tough,” Radcliffe said. “We will have to hit good pitching and play solid defense.”
Fort Dorchester opened its season Wednesday at Goose Creek. The Patriots' first home game is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 12 when they host Military Magnet.
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or firstname.lastname@example.org