Time for a little Fall ball guys. I took in a few hours of an intersquad scrimmage Sunday and came away feeling pretty good about our team. We have a very solid nucleus of returning players. It all starts with four year senior first baseman Tim Lynch. Tim has always been solid defensively, and brings some nice lefty pop to our batting order. Things seem no different for Tim as he sent several lasers out of the park during batting practice.
Another four year senior looks to be taking care of business at second base for the Eagles. Nick Dawson is as solid as they come defensively and he showed some clutch hitting yesterday batting at the top of the lineup and producing a key run by putting the ball in play to plate the runner from third. Dawson is also getting a strong look at shortstop, and played half of the scrimmage at that position. The shortstop and second base positions had several different players showing what they could contribute during the scrimmage. Chase Scott, who figures to be the incumbent in left field got a lot of work at the second base position. He looked a little stiff as an infielder for my taste, but his bat was in mid season form as Scott welcomed rookie pitcher J. C. Keys to division one baseball, with a bomb that hit the score board netting.
Speaking of rookies, Storme Cooper and Matthew Guidry were very solid at shortstop and second base respectively. Cooper also provided a clutch RBI single to the opposite field during the scrimmage. Guidry also showed the ability to play some third base and made several nice plays from the hot corner.
Moving over to third base there is no question who will be manning that spot. Taylor Braley looks like a new man as he has shed close to 30 pounds off of his frame. I'm guessing Taylor carried most of that extra weight from his football playing days as a defensive end at Oak Grove. He is now a quicker 6-0 220. He also showed his power during batting practice. He made several nice plays from third base during the scrimmage.
Moving on to catcher incumbent Chuckie Robinson will get some stiff competition from juco transfer Claudio Rubiera. Rubiera is a solid 6-0 200. He showed very nice defensive skills moving around behind the plate and really blocking it up during the scrimmage. He also showed a solid bat as he added and RBI with a solid rip up the middle. We are in good shape behind the plate with these two guys. My guess is it will be a nice battle between these two to see who earns the starting nod.
Over in right field third year junior Dylan Burdeaux returns. He showed nice wheels running down a hot shot at the wall to record the out. He was also solid at the plate with a hot shot over third baseman's head. He is a powerful pull hitter. I hope during the Fall season he continues to work on taking the ball the other way. Center field looks to be in the experienced hands of senior transfer Jake Sandlin. Sandlin stands 5-11 160, but has surprising pop in his bat for a smaller guy. Sandlin showed what he could do with solid play in center during the scrimmage. At the plate you can tell that Sandlin is an experienced crafty hitter. He has a very good eye and can spray the ball to all fields. I would not be surprised to see him as our lead off guy this Spring.
Also figuring into the outfield rotation is sophomore Daniel Keating. Standing 6-3 205 Keating is one of the better pure athletes on the field. He can really run, and flashed a strong arm from the outfield. Keating also shows a great deal of pop in his bat. The ball really explodes of his bat. He can play any spot in the outfield and is a strong threat on the base path. I look for him to have a big season for us. Hunter Slater from Mobile is also in the mix in the outfield and showed a lot of pop from the left side of the plate. He could be a real power asset from the left side of the plate this season and into the future.
Just to finish up what i saw at the scrimmage. Kirk McKarty pitched three strong innings and appears to have added a little more pop to his fast ball, as he was consistently hitting 87 on the gun. It took him a little while to spot his breaking ball, but once he did he was tough to deal with. He looked strong recording several strike outs in his brief stint on the mound. Juco transfer Tracy Hadley will also be in the battle for the short stop position. He looked quick and brings nice athleticism to the short stop position. He should also be a nice speed threat on the base path. I will try to get out to a few more scrimmages and let you guys know how the lads are progressing.