January 13, 2015

 According to Doug Kovash, second year head coach, the LSCC Baseball team will be a much improved baseball squad team this spring.  “We are light years ahead of where were one year ago,” remarked Coach K.  Better players, competing at a higher intensity and focus at practice and workouts and improved game day execution are just a few of things this team possesses.

Luke Hastings, 2014 All Conference 3B North Division emerged as one of the top hitting and fielding third baseman in the ACCC North and had a tremendous fall.  Juan Givan played all 50 games after transferring from UAB in January to lead the Cougar offense with a .307 batting average.  Givan signed with Division I Nicholls State (LA) in November and has developed into the team’s quiet, steady leader. Givan will start @ SS.  His move from 2B to SS opens the way for sophomore, Luke Ates and newcomers, Jared Benson & Caleb Ledbetter to fight for playing time at 2B.  Ates is versatile and could see time @ 3B when Hastings pitches.  Benson was one of the top hitters on the team in the fall while Ledbetter played better defensively.

Cody Cox, slick fielding SS, should see plenty of time as well – either as Givan's back up or as a potential starter at 2B.  In addition, the Cougars picked up another UAB mid-year transfer this year in Josh Vines.  Vines was the starting SS for the powerful Hoover HS team in 2014.  “We have so much more depth in the infield this year.  “Not only do we have talent; we have options offensively and defensively as well,” said Coach K.

Rookie Russell Phillips will play 1B and hit in the middle of the order.  “Russell gives us something we never had in 2014 – a legitimate gap-to-gap power hitter who will drive in runs in the middle of the order,” Kovash said excitedly.  Look for the Cougars offense to improve their run production in 2015 with an exciting mix of power, tough outs that produce quality at bats and great team speed.

“We are looking forward to the February 3rd season opener,” said Coach Kovash.  The pitching staff will be anchored by three sophomores, Trey Johns, Scott Falkinburg & Luke Hastings.  Three freshmen had outstanding fall campaigns and should start throughout the year.  Look for Seth McWaters, Nick DeSantis & Andrew Faulkner pick up tons of innings this spring.  Dual position player, Dallas Oliver, will see plenty of opportunities in relief when not running down balls in the outfield.  Kelby Hallmark, Kyle Underwood, Ben Swicord and Snead State transfer lefty Aaron Anderson round out the pitching staff.

Gentry Ford is the lead candidate for the position of catcher for the Cougars.  Angel Castillo and Spencer Black will also share time with Ford.  The outfield consists of seven talented athletes who run well, play good defense, and throw the ball well.  LaDeavon Matthews, Gordon JC (GA) transfer, and Dallas Oliver will transition to the outfield after playing 3B & LF in the fall.  Both bring a nice blend of offense, power, and speed to the lineup.  Mason Schoettlin has a slight edge over second year outfielders Scott Falkinburg, Darione Adkison, and Eric Yarbrough.

Overall, the 2015 team has great team speed, great depth in the outfield at all positions.  We can put the ball in the hands of six to eight pitchers and expect to win.  The team’s goal is to work hard and strive to compete for Lawson State’s first-ever berth in the ACCC post season tournament in Ozark, AL in May.  “If everything comes together as we think it can, we believe we can make history at Lawson State this season,” said Coach K.

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