Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The Green Wave baseball team enters this season with a lot of talent and some respect.
Summerville is coming off a 20-6 season during which it claimed the Region 8-AAAA championship. It is ranked sixth in the 2014 pre-season Diamond Prospects rankings and eighth in the S.C. Baseball Coaches Association 4-A preseason poll.
“I think that is very generous considering the youth of our team,” first-year Green Wave coach Alan Bridges said.
Summerville lost some key players to graduation plus starting short stop/pitcher Johnston McCurry to a pre-season injury. Due to McCurry’s absence this year’s team will only start two or three seniors in the first month or so of the season, but Summerville does have considerable skill across the board.
“Some people are saying this could be our year but that remains to be seen,” Bridges said. “We aren’t where I would like us to be, but the kids did have a good offseason and we have a very balanced team. Everyone is getting after it and has bought in.
“Our strength should be our pitching depth.”
The top pitchers in the Green Wave rotation entering the season are senior Zach Mosay and sophomore Sawyer Bridges.
Mosay, the 2013 MVP for the Green Wave varsity team, has signed to play for Spartanburg Methodist College. Bridges, who is also the starting quarterback for the Green Wave football team, has verbally committed to the Clemson University baseball team.
Junior Charlie Fessler and sophomore Wilson Beattie are also expected to see some starts on the hill.
Senior J.W. Eckley and junior Alex Hursey will be the middle relievers and senior Billy Peatross is the team’s closer. Bo Gobin and Kyle Smith are others likely to pitch for Summerville this season.
Peatross, who also signed with Spartanburg Methodist College last month, will man first base when he is not on the mound. Bridges, Andrew Kenney and Steven Dibble will split time at second while Mosay and Gobin will split time at shortstop.
Fessler will man third, but that was Mosay’s position last season so he could move over to the hot corner if there is a need.
Jack Bahen has moved up from the Green Wave JV to claim the starting catcher’s spot.
Junior T.J. Hopkins returns to anchor the outfield. Junior Matty Powell, last year’s DH, will man right field. The left-field position will be manned by Eckley, Fessler and junior Aaron Greene.
Juniors Chad Mathis, Reilly Hagan and Walker Pennington will provide depth for Summerville at various positions.
Hopkins is one of the team’s best hitters and will lead off for the Green Wave largely because of his speed.
“He has excellent speed and can hit to all fields,” Coach Bridges said. “He would bat cleanup for a lot of teams but we need him at the top of the order.”
McCurry was slated to be the No. 2 hitter, but with his injury that position in the lineup is up for grabs. Others certain to hit early in the lineup include Mosay, Peatross and Fessler.
Summerville will have the opportunity to see how it stacks up against some of the best teams in the state this week when it participates in the International Paper Baseball Classic tournament in Georgetown.
The Green Wave opens play in the tournament at 2 p.m. Thursday with a game against Sumter, the top-ranked team in the coaches’ 4-A poll.
Summerville plays Conway at 3:30 p.m. Friday and fourth-ranked Dorman at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The championship game for the tournament is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday.
“Our athletes feel privileged and honored to represent Summerville High in the prestigious IP Classic,” Coach Bridges said. “It is a arguably the best tournament in the state. There is an excellent field of teams this year. The tourney format should help us see where we stand against the better 4A teams in our state and it also allows for us to play some great 3A programs that we normally would not face.”
Summerville opens its regular season March 12 by hosting Stratford.
The Green Wave’s first region game is slated for March 26 when Summerville hosts Colleton County. The coaches are hoping McCurry will be able to return to the lineup by then.
March 6-9: IP Classic in Georgetown
March 12: Stratford
March 17: @ Cane Bay
March 19: @ Berkeley
March 21: Bishop England
March 24: @ White Knoll
March 26: Colleton County
March 28: @ Beaufort
March 31: @ Bluffton
April 2: Ashley Ridge
April 4: Fort Dorchester
April 7: @ Colleton County
April 9: Beaufort
April 11: Bluffton
April 14-18: HIT Tournament
April 21: @ Ashley Ridge
April 23: @ Fort Dorchester