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Archives 03-15-2000

Sports


LA Wildcats Ready For Baseball Season
Brown Listed As One Of Tournament's Best
Sharon Smith To Play In JUCO Nats
New Laws Are Now In Effect For Bass Fishing


 


LA Wildcats Ready For Baseball Season

By Dewain E. Peek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members of the 2000 Livingston Academy Wildcats Baseball Team are, front row from left, Jesse Wolfram, Nathan Randolph, Todd Rose, Jared Rudd, Kyle Copeland, Josh Cravins, Robert Richardson, second row from left, Assistant Coach Jamie Loftis, Chris Everley, Derek Knappenberger, Brandon Smith, Jerran Allen, Matthan Houser, Josh Parsons, Eric Johnson, James Parsons, back row from left, Daniel Christensen, Matt Poston, Bryant Harmon, Jeff Aldridge, Cody Campbell, Shea Stout, Jonathan Cummings, and Michael Poston. (OCN staff photo)

 

The new high school baseball season opens this week and the Livingston Academy Wildcats open it with a new coach. The departure of successful longtime LA coach Pat Swallows has brought longtime assistant coach Steve Robbins up to the plate as the new field general.

Coach Robbins said, "We haven't set any team goals as far as wins or losses. My goal for the team is just to win every game that we're supposed to win and about half of the ones we're not supposed to win.

"I told the team early on, I'm sure I'll make mistakes, and maybe pull a pitcher too early or too late or pinch hit at the wrong time or not pinch hit when I should have. I know that will probably happen, but I've told the guys they'll have to play through that, that's going to happen."

Such is the nature of baseball, the coach's decisions, good or bad, can always be second guessed. It comes with the territory. What also comes with the territory for a high school coach is getting playing time for his players.

"The biggest problem is going to be making sure they get playing time," Coach Robbins said. "We've got a really good bunch of boys. I know everybody wants to play. I want them all to play. I wish we could play triple-headers every day and let them all play seven innings, but that's not going to happen."

So as the season opens, Coach Robbins will build the team on the senior leadership of Jerran Allen, Matthan Houser, Chris Everley, and Derek Knappenberger and a deep pitching staff.

"Eric Johnson's really throwing the ball well," Coach Robbins said. "He pitched for us last year and did a good job. He'll throw a lot.

"Matt Quarles is a newcomer. He played basketball his freshman and sophomore years. He's always played baseball in the summer leagues. He's throwing the ball real well. We expect him to throw a lot of innings for us.

"Matt Poston will play infield some and pitch. Matt throws strikes.

"Derek Knappenberger will be our only lefthander this year, so we're hoping he can throw good for us.

"We expect Jerran Allen to throw a lot. He'll be one of our regular starters as a pitcher.

"Bryant Harmon has really come around. He's going to do a good job for us on the mound.

"Shea Stout did a good job out of the bullpen last year after transferring. Shea could be a real big part of our pitching staff. He's throwing hard, as long as he throws strikes he's fine.

"Matthan Houser did a good job late in the season last year pitching for us.

"We've got some young kids that can throw too, Michael Poston, Kyle Copeland, Jeff Aldridge, all those guys can throw too. It remains to be seen how we do in game situations, but I think we're going to be fine. Jesse Wolfram, a sophomore, is another one who'll pitch quite a bit this year.

"Maybe we don't have the one ace we had last year in Bubbie (Buzachero), but I think altogether we'll be all right."

The pitching depth is equally matched with fielding depth.

"Defensively, in the outfield we're going to be pretty quick," Coach Robbins said. "They're aggressive, that's what I like. Both Parsons twins, they're going to go get it. Johnson may be the quickest kid on the team. Cummings had done a really good job.

"The infield has a lot of quickness there. I don't know if we're the fastest team, but we have a lot of quickness.

"Allen's going to anchor third base. He's been playing there on and off since he was a freshman.

"Houser's going to pretty much be our everyday shortstop. Matt Poston and Nathan Randolph and also Jesse Wolfram and Josh Cravins, all four of those kids can play second and short. They're all doing a good job. And then you've got Chris Everley who can play any of those positions. Bryant Harmon can play third or first or the outfield.

"At first base, we're a little more untested. Brandon Smith played there a lot in JV and some with the varsity, he'll be there some and Knappenberger there some.

"I've really been pleased with the catching. Robert Richardson, who just came out of basketball, is doing a good job already. He caught a lot of games for us last year. He'll catch a lot.

"Cody Campbell played football last year and is going to play baseball this year. He's from Florida and it's obvious he's caught his whole life because he's very comfortable back there. He just needs a little fine tuning.

"Josh Cravins can catch, and even James Parsons, and even Houser can catch too if we had to. So we've got a lot of possibilities there, but Robert and Cody look like the two that are going to catch most of the games." Much of last year's 10-2 regular season district championship was the result of the power supplied by Bubbie Buzachero and Brandon Thomas, both lost to graduation. This year's team looks to rely on line drive hitting more than power.

"Jerran and Matthan, probably have the most experience coming back, and Josh and James Parsons, all four of those guys are really hitting the ball well," Coach Robbins said. "Eric Johnson is hitting the ball well right now. Robert Richardson is going to be a much improved hitter. Knappenberger gives us a left-handed bat. Jonathan Cummings is going to surprise some folks.

"If things don't change, I think we're going to be a pretty good hitting team."

Aggressive play should be the hallmark of this year's team, according to Coach Robbins.

"They've played for Coach Swallows and he did a really good job. I told them, it's going to be a little different, just because of our different personalities. We had a good relationship, but we'll do some things differently.

"We're going to run the bases a little more. I'm going to give some of those older kids that've played a lot, that have a lot of speed, the green light." Last year's Wildcats were the runner-up in the district tournament, and finished the year with an overall record of 24-11. Coach Robbins won't predict where this year's team fits into the district chase.

"It's hard to know how good Upperman's going to be, and DeKalb's going to be, and Smith County, he said. "That'll be the three biggest problems in the district. I think Cannon will be better.

"I really don't know where we'll fall. I think most people think we'll finish in the third or fourth spot, since Coach Swallows left and we lost those seniors from last year. We've got higher expectations. We've got a tough schedule, though."

Effort isn't one of Coach Robbins' concerns going into the season.

"They play hard," he said. "We've got some experience back. We've got a lot of juniors that have played a lot of JV last year, and some of them played some varsity. They're not experienced on the varsity level, yet they have played a lot of baseball. We're going to be okay as far as that goes.

"We've got a lot of good practice in because the weather's been so good. We're pretty excited." After opening the season at home against Monticello, KY, on Monday, March 13, the Wildcats are scheduled to host Monterey on Thursday, March 16 at 5 p.m., then travel to play Clinton County, KY, on Tuesday, March 21 at 4 p.m.


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Brown Listed As One Of Tournament's Best

Livingston Academy Lady Wildcat senior Andrea Brown was recently named as a Class AA second team player on a list of top players in Tennessee prep basketball state tournament history. The list was compiled by The Tennessean.

Brown played on state tournament Lady Wildcats teams in 1997, 1998, and 1999.

Lady Wildcats Paige Smith and Tiffany Krantz were named to the first team. Smith, who now plays for Austin Peay State University, played in the state tournament in 1998 and 1999, and Krantz, who plays for Auburn University, played in the state tournament in 1994 and 1996. Smith was named state tournament Most Valuable Player in 1999, and Krantz was named tournament MVP in 1994, both state championship years for Livingston Academy.

Also named to the second team was Sunday Watson of the Lady Wildcats, who played in the state tournament in 1994, 1995, and 1996.

LA has two former players playing in this week's first round of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament. Krantz is playing for Auburn (21-7), who will take on Southwest Missouri State (23-8), and Misty Garrett is playing for Tennessee Tech (24-8), who will take on Texas Tech (25-4).

 

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Sharon Smith To Play In JUCO Nats

Former Lady Wildcat Sharon Smith will play in this week's JUCO Nationals as part of the Region IV Champion Columbia State Lady Chargers.

The Lady Chargers, coached by Larry Brewer, won 97-75 over Cleveland State in the Region IV quarterfinals, to advance to the semifinals. Sharon Smith contributed 8 points and 7 assists in the win.

In the semi-final against Kentucky rival St. Catherine's, the Lady Chargers went on a 41-8 second half run to win 73-62. Smith scored 14 points, in the game, 11 in the first half.

In the championship game, the Lady Chargers faced Walter's State, and former Pickett County Lady Bobcat Amanda Boles. The Lady Senators outscored Columbia State 52-50 from the floor, but wound up with 7 fewer free throws made in the last 2:21 of the game. Sharon Smith put in a fine all-around performance with 6 points, 4 assists, and a team high 6 rebounds, while bringing the ball up the court and setting the offensive tempo for the team.

Another Livingston Academy connection on the Lady Chargers is former Lady Wildcats and now Lady Chargers manager Korie Cravins.

Columbia State was set to face Cincinnati-Ohio in the first round of the double elimination tourney on Tuesday, March 14.

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New Laws Are Now In Effect For Bass Fishing

Changes became law as of March 1 on two of Tennessee's popular reservoirs' most popular fish. Old fishing licenses expired on the same day.

Kentucky Lake and Dale Hollow Reservoir are two impoundments where substantial changes were made in fish regulations this year, both concerning bass size limits. On Kentucky Lake, some anglers will have to be particularly careful about largemouth in their live wells.

Angler's fishing south of Kentucky Lake's mile marker 111.1 (near the confluence of the Duck River) may keep largemouth that are larger than 13 inches; however, north of that landmark the largemouth must be 14 inches or larger. In addition, the smallmouth size limit became 14 inches lake-wide as of March 1.

Smallmouth bass also have a new size limit on Dale Hollow Reservoir, which has become one of Tennessee's first large impoundments to be given a slot limit. Smallmouth can no longer be kept between 16 and 21 inches in length. Biologists recommended this change to bolster Dale Hollow's already excellent quality smallmouth fishery. One smallmouth can be kept below 16 inches and one can be kept above 21 inches.

More information about Dale Hollow, Kentucky Lake, and all of Tennessee's large public impoundments can be obtained from TWRA's Tennessee Fishing Regulations 2000, which will be available soon from businesses that sell fishing licenses.

Licenses are also now available. Tennessee fishing and hunting licenses always expire on the last day of February, regardless of when they are purchased. License costs will remain the same as last year.

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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486
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