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Pitching key strength for Fairland

PROCTORVILLE – The Fairland Dragons should make a pitch to win the Ohio Valley Conference this season.

Monday, March 26, 2001

PROCTORVILLE – The Fairland Dragons should make a pitch to win the Ohio Valley Conference this season.

That pitch is due to a trio of pitchers led by senior Stuart Shepherd, the team’s ace last season who coach Roger Snyder said "has really developed into quite an athlete."

Shepherd will be joined by senior Josh Dunfee and junior Matt Roy to give Fairland a strong rotation.

"We think we’re going to be pretty decent," Snyder said. "Josh Dunfee pitched well late and Roy did a good job late, and we have several kids back.

"I think those three pitchers are going to be as good as any three in the league, at least they have the potential to be. They just need to get out and do it."

Also expected to add to the pitching staff are senior K. C. Jones, junior Chris Hardy, and freshman Matt Clark.

"K. C. threw some last year, Hardy can throw, and we think Clark has a future ahead of him," said Snyder.

The Dragons have seven seniors in the starting lineup and Snyder is hoping the experience will give his team an edge in the OVC race.

"With all these seniors, we have a lot of confidence in this bunch. You need some breaks to go your way, but we feel good about our team," Snyder said.

Junior Jarod Schneider returns to catch. Snyder said Schneider "did a lot of work and now he’s the complete catcher. He’s always had a good glove, but now he has the good arm."

Sophomore Andy Pittman is the backup.

First base will have junior Drew Clark and possibly Shepherd when he’s not pitching.

"Drew was hurt last year. He looked pretty good as a freshman. But he’s worked hard and we expect him to hit the ball and he has a good glove," Snyder said.

Senior Kyle Leadmon will be at second base after playing seven different position the previous season.

"He was all-conference and did a nice job at all positions," said Snyder.

Senior Toby Rice could see some playing time at second base.

The shortstop will be Dunfee and Shepherd with freshman Zac Russell in the mix.

"They’re good athletes. They’ll do a nice job," said Snyder.

Senior Toby Morrison is back at third base with junior Tim Adkins pushing for playing time.

"Toby was as good a third baseman as we saw all year. Adkins is one of those kids who plays wherever you ask him and does what’s asked of him. He’ll do the job with the bat," said Snyder.

Right field will belong to senior J. W. Jones who played the position most of last season.

"He did a real good job last year and he was one of our top two RBI guys. He has a good arm and a good bat," Snyder said.

Hardy is in centerfield and Snyder said "he’s been one of our surprises. He’s been hitting the ball well. We’re hoping he can continue to hit."

Left field will be a battle between Roy and seniors Jason Stephens and K. C. Jones.

"Roy play some last year when we had someone else pitching. He can go get the ball. He could wind up as a designated hitter," Snyder said.

"K. C. started a lot last year and he does well in the field. The key with him is to be more productive at the plate than last year. Jason just needs to get some swings at the plate to see if he can do in the game what he does in the cage."

In the OVC, Snyder sees South Point, Coal Grove, and possibly Chesapeake as the top contenders along with the Dragons.

"A lot will depend on how the teams get started. Getting off to a good start and getting the confidence will be a key. The first week or so could go a long way to determining the winner," said Snyder.