• 32°

Trio of pitchers biggest strength for CG

COAL GROVE – The success of the Coal Grove Hornets will be as easy as 1-2-3.

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

COAL GROVE – The success of the Coal Grove Hornets will be as easy as 1-2-3.

That’s "3" as in three pitchers.

Having lost six starters from a 13-8 team, the Hornets will rely on the pitching trio of Jarrod Keaton, Josh Keaton, and Eric Tackett.

"Pitching is definitely our strength," said Jones. "Jarrod throws pretty hard. He’s been clocked in the mid-80s.

"Tackett will play a lot. He hit well. Eric has good control and Josh has to play shortstop, so that may determine how much he gets to pitch. And we had a pretty good freshman pitching in Tommy Pemberton who might help us."

The Keatons will have to pick up the slack to help the Hornets recover from their losses. The only other returning starter is Ryan Brown.

Jarrod Keaton, a .457 career hitter, will be at first base when he’s not pitching. He batted .464 last season in earning All-Ohio Valley Conference honors.

Second base will be junior Tyler Waller who played some toward the end of last season.

Josh Keaton will be the shortstop with Pemberton his possible backup. Keaton is switching from third base where he started last year.

"Josh has got more mobility and he’s doing all right," said Jones. "If Pemberton can play short, we can use Scott Lewis at third when Josh has to pitch."

Senior Scott Lewis or senior Andy Dean will be at third base. Lewis got some playing time last season, mostly as a designated hitter.

Senior Josh Wheeler will step in at catcher and Jones said he’s been a pleasant surprise.

"He gets rid of the ball really quick. He’s really worked hard. Anything we get from him at the plate is a bonus," said Jones.

Eric Tackett and senior Jason Adams will probably share time in left field, sophomore Tim Harrison should be in right field, and Brown is back in center.

"We’ve got four or five good outfielders. They can all run. Andy Dean can play out there, too. We need to find a way to get Andy in the lineup whether it’s in the field or as a designate hitter," said Jones.

Also expected to get some playing time is sophomore Wyatt Adkins.

Sophomore Tim Elliott is the backup catcher while sophomore Brandon Stevens will be the backup at second and play in the event Waller has to move to third.

Freshman Luke Tackett will be a backup at shortstop and second base.

In the Ohio Valley Conference,

"If we can play defense, we can contend with Fairland and South Point. I still look for South Point to be strong. And Fairland has a lot of seniors and three or four good pitchers," said Jones.

‘I’m hoping we can have a better rounded lineup. We’ve got a lot of kids up and down the lineup who can make contact."