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Baseball sees a new ball game

February 25, 2011

By Ethan Burch, Sports Editor

Members of the 2011 YHC men's baseball team features one of the youngest rosters in the nation. Photo by Leila Shearon

The Young Harris College baseball team has recently started their 2011 season.

The Mountain Lions will play this season with one of the youngest rosters in the nation, which contains no juniors or seniors. The YHC game plan will also consists of an entirely new starting line-up, with no returning starters from last year’s team.

YHC Head Coach Rick Robinson has an optimistic outlook on beginning the season.

“I am very excited about getting the season started,” said Robinson. “Even though the weather has been terrible the last couple of weeks,  we have been able to get on the field more than in years past, and I feel that we are ready to play. Now, we are at the point where we need to play an outside opponent to determine where our practices need to focus in order to continue to improve.”

The 2011 season will also be the first in which the Mountain Lions will enter play as a four-year institution.

“This is an exciting time in the history of Young Harris College, and it is the baseball programs turn to play a role in the excitement here on campus,” said Robinson.

To begin the season, Robinson plans to start eight freshmen in the Mountain Lions line-up.

“As a coach, when you start eight freshmen both offensively and defensively, you hope they will be able perform the basics and give great effort,” said Robinson. “Defensively, we must be able to catch the ball when it is hit to us and throw the ball to our partner. On the mound, we must focus on throwing strikes and staying ahead in the count. Offensively, we have to figure out ways to put the ball in play.”

In the field, freshman business & public policy major Jack Morrow of Carneys Point, NJ will take over behind the plate as starting catcher for the Mountain Lions.

At first base, Coach Robinson has chosen to split time between freshman Adam Moore of Kennesaw and freshman Brady McCarter of Blairsville. The coaching staff expects for Moore to contribute in the field as well as on the mound this season. McCarter is a former pitcher who has made the switch for 1st base in a move that coaches feel will benefit the Mountain Lions.

The middle infield will consist of freshman Mike Medori of Newark, DE at second base and freshman Tommy Ferguson of Cumming at shortstop.

The hot corner of the infield will be held down by freshman third baseman Evan Carr of Marietta.

The YHC outfield will contain a number of experienced players, as well as a handful of new players as freshmen David Atwood and Trey Rogers join sophomores Josh Rudnik and Zack Bricknell in the deep portions of the field.

Freshman pitcher James Mills practices his fielding in an early-season exercise. Photo by Leila Shearon

Starting on the mound for YHC will be freshmen pitchers Adam Moore, Travis Donahoo, Taylor Topping and Tyler Isbell. Joining the staff of freshmen will be right-handed sophomore Josh Rudnik, who is expected to anchor the young Mountain Lions staff.

The relief pitching core for YHC consist of freshmen relievers Brice Merritt, Oliver Pratt, Nick Galvin, Nick Boutwell, Billy Demersky, Blake Fortune and James Mills. Red-shirt freshman Clint Ogle and red-shirt sophomore Sean Kelly will also bring experience to the bullpen. Kelley was voted team captain and will return to the mound this season looking to bounce back from an offseason shoulder injury.

The Mountain Lions opened the 2011 season on the road against the University of Montavello. YHC began the series against Montavello with a 14-10 loss to the Falcons. The Mountain Lions went on to drop the next two games to complete the series sweep for Montavello.

YHC won their first game of the season on Feb. 11 in a road match-up with Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, NC. The Mountain Lions fought for the win as the game went in to extra innings, resulting in an 8-6 win for YHC in the 11th inning.

YHC will take on Mars Hill College at Zell B. Miller Field on Feb. 22, as the Mountain Lions continue through a stretch of 17 consecutive home games.

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