High expectations for #039;Boys of Summer#039;

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Greenville Tigers baseball squad is focused and according to coach Curtis Grey, looking to make some noise in their area.

Last season, the Tigers finished 5-10 overall and were no-hit in the area championship game by Charles Henderson High School.

The Trojans went on to win the state championship.

"Seven of our 10 losses were by one run," said Grey. "So if we can get over that hump then we should do pre

Grey lost three players off last year's squad. This year, he returns seven seniors and a gang-load of freshmen.

"We have seven seniors coming back this year," said Grey. "They are all acting like leaders. Since we have no assistant coach this year, the guys are stepping out and helping me with the younger players. Each freshman has a senior "mentor". I still haven't seen one player break out yet."

Looking at the Tigers on the field, their strengths seem to be on the mound and in the infield. The outfield isn't considered a weakness by Grey, just an area that's going to take a lot of work.

"Our starting pitchers for this year are going to be Dusty Coker, Brandon Burnette, Daniel Hartley, Scott Corley, and David Stevenson," said Grey. "I plan to work in some younger players, like Ethan Mock, Antonio smith, and Lynn Lewis. Catcher will be Brandon Burnette and Zach Smith. First base is Dusty Coker, Scott Corley, and Steven Croley. Second base is David Stevenson, Marcus Mickles, and Brandon Anthony, who will also do short stop and third base. Lynn Lewis will serve at third base as well. Shortstops are Brad Heartsill, Brandon Burnette, Brandon Anthony, and Ethan Mock. Outfield is Daniel Hartley, Josh Booker, Andrew Phelps and Jake Newton."

The Tigers will open their season Tuesday afternoon when they play Brantley at Beeland Park. From there, they will face McKenzie and then Georgiana.

"We are starting the season with smaller schools: Brantley, McKenzie, Georgiana," said Grey. "We will also be playing Hillcrest and Charles Henderson, as well as our new schools in our area, Carroll (Ozark), and Eufaula."

"Most of our area games will be during April, although we will be having one in March. "

"The small schools will help us build our game up for our area playoffs. "

"We are having to make do with what teams we can get this year, because there aren't many 5A's around, other than in Montgomery, but they play between each other, so we couldn't fit in their schedule."

Despite the schedule where the opponents go up and down in size, the Tigers were unable to schedule a tournament for this season. But do hope to possibly host one next season.

This is my second year here, and I feel that we can make it to area playoffs," said Grey.

"The seniors won't take any less this year. I don't see any real problems because most of our competition's teams are young, but we won't know for sure until the season starts. "

"We are very excited and have high expectations for the year. Our big goal is to win the area, and we are working as hard as we can for it."

The Tigers will have their first test of the season on Feb. 22 when they host the Bulldogs of Brantley High School. The first pitch of that game is set for 4:30 p.m. and will be played at Beeland Park.

After that, the Tigers will be on the road Feb. 24 against McKenzie and then will return home Feb. 25 to face Georgiana in a double header. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m.

The Tigers get a three-day break and then hit the road for a trip to Evergreen and a meeting with the Jaguars.

Greenville opens the month of March with back to back home games against Highland Home and McKenzie.

Then on that following Saturday, the Tigers will trave to J.F.Shields for a doubledip against hte Eagles. First pitch of that game is set for 12 p.m.

Greenville will have a nine-day break and then hit the diamond on March 14 with a road trip down to Brantley and will face the Bulldogs.

The next day they will be back at the friendly confines of Beeland Park to play host to Russell County and then Evergreen (3/17).

The Tigers will open up area competition on March 18 with a road trip to Eufaula but will not play another area game until April.