Tigers have strong year on diamond

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Red Level Tigers (14-9) had one of the best baseball seasons in Covington County this year and they hope to continue that trend in the future.

Red Level lost in round two of the Class 1A state playoffs to Holy Spirit.

The Tigers hosted a round two series for the first time since 2015.

“I think the way this team formed a brotherhood was probably the biggest factor in our success this year,” Red Level head coach Todd Smith said. “They really came together as a team.”

Smith said that the Tigers’ pitching staff had a big hand in pushing the Tigers into the playoffs.

“I was proud of the way our pitching staff approached the game,” Smith said. “Kade Green and Tucker Livings competed well each game. They gave us quality innings and went deep in most every game they pitched. That was very positive for us.”

The defense struggled a bit, but Smith said it improved along with hitting as the season progressed.

“Our defense struggled, but got better as the year went along,” Smith said. “It’s not where we want it to be, but we made progress. It was the same way with hitting. We struggled to hit early in the year, but when area play and playoffs started, we peaked at the right time. That is a credit to how hard these kids work.”

Along with Green and Livings, Smith said that Braxton Lee was a huge part of the team.

“Braxton is our multi-purpose guy,” Smith said. “It didn’t matter what I needed him to do. He would just say, ‘Yes sir,’ and then do it. He was the one constant in our line up. He batted leadoff from the beginning of the year. He is a scrappy player that finds ways to get on base. When he got on base, we usually found a way to bring him around to score. He is a clutch guy who would do anything you asked. He is one of those guys that it’s never about him, but it’s all about making the team better. He is one of the most selfless players that I have ever coached. This is the type of kid that you like to have in your program. You want the younger guys seeing the hard work that he puts in every single day.”

Smith said that his senior Ethan Edson was also an important piece for the Tigers.

“Ethan dealt with an injury from football that kept him out of a few games,” Smith said. “He was always a guy that the younger guys looked up to. Everyone on the team wanted this year to be special for him and our other senior Cody Shepard.”

Shepard was one of two seniors on the team along with Edson.

“Cody is a guy that has been with us for the past two years,” Smith said. “He came out last year after not playing for about four years and emerged as our starting left fielder. He is a guy with a motor and he will be missed.”

Smith said the Red Level community really showed up and supported the Tigers.

“We have had great support in the past three years, but this year I was overwhelmed by the community support,” Smith said. “There was an electric feeling at the home games. There were cheering fans every where you looked.”