Ironton facing major rebuilding

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 26, 2000

It’s been said that pitching is the name of the game.

Sunday, March 26, 2000

It’s been said that pitching is the name of the game. The Ironton Fighting Tigers might be hoping for a name change.

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Gone is Dan Meehan, the All-Ohio pitcher who had 20 career wins and was 8-3 last season with a 2.30 earned run average.

Also missing via graduation are Ryan Carmon, Daniel Price, and Michael Schweickart who combined for five wins, thus giving the departed pitchers 13 of the team’s victories in a 17-10 season.

"Pitching is the biggest part of this game, and we don’t have a dominant pitcher," Ironton coach Mark Lewis said. "The pitchers we have are all about the same. Not any one is more outstanding than the other."

Heading up the pitching staff will be seniors Dallas Carmon and Jimmy Peyton, juniors Mark Mains and Josh Harmon, sophomores Chad Parker and Drew Mains, and freshmen Matt White and Greg Mountain.

Mark Mains was 1-1 last year with a 3.77 ERA, but he threw only 13 innings. Parker was 2-0 in 16.1 innings with a 3.01 ERA.

Drew Mains was 0-1 in only four innings and Carmon threw just two frames.

But if you think the pitching was depleted, take a look at the overall lineup. Of the nine starting positions, the only regular returning is senior Jon Sites.

The Ironton catcher batted .333 with a home run and eight runs batted in.

Parker became a starter midway through last season and finished with a .250 average, one HR and seven RBI.

Meehan led the team at .458. Chad Lewis hit .419, Nathan Myers .368, Price .251, and Ryan Carmon .341. Meehan and Carmon combined for to drive in 60 runs.

"We’ll be starting eight or even nine new guys. It’ll be tough to win against our schedule," said Lewis. "We’ll have to spend the first week or so evaluating more people and fill in spots."

Sites at catcher gives Ironton a hard-nosed receiver who Lewis said "has shown real good leadership. He’s the only solid position player we have."

Drew Mains will play shortstop where he filled in for a week last season when Ryan Carmon was injured. Lewis wants to limit his time on the mound and concentrate on shortstop.

"Drew can hit and he’s very steady at shortstop. He has a good glove and he’ll only get better the most he plays," said Lewis.

Parker will be at first base when he doesn’t pitch with senior Clark Cooper his backup.

"Parker hit pretty well for a freshman and he’ll give us a little pop in the lineup," said Lewis.

Second base is a battle between juniors Alex Markins and Matt Johnson.

‘They’re both a couple of unknowns," said Lewis. "Johnson was an outfielder last year, but they’re both showing a lot of promise."

Third base gets even younger as freshmen Matt White and Greg Mountain vie for the starting job.

"They both have good gloves, strong arms and hit the ball well," said Lewis.

Mountain will also serve as the backup catcher.

An all-new outfield will have Mark Mains in left, Harmon in center, and Peyton in right. Neither Harmon or Peyton played last season.

Also in the mix is Dallas Carmon.

"Mains is stronger, and Harmon’s a good athlete who we moved from shortstop to give us someone who can run and throw up the middle," said Lewis. "Peyton is not a natural outfielder, but we put him where we thought he could help us the most. He can also play first base which is a possibility because Dallas Carmon has looked pretty good."

Juniors Tim McKnight and Jimmy Hopper could also figure in the outfield picture.

Sophomore Chuck Murnahan was a pitching and infield prospect, but he may be out for the season with a knee injury.

"We’re in a Catch 22. We need to be patient with our youth and inexperience, but we need to develop quickly," said Lewis.

"Defensively, we can be better than last year and offensively we have to wait and see. But the biggest thing is we have to be a team that does all the little things to win. Our defense has to play well and it will be tested."