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2014 Spring Sports Previews: Hit the Field

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Calvin Hodges card

President’s Day appeared to be the first chance for the 2014 Millington Trojans to hit the field after a couple of days in the gym.
Although the temperatures were comfortable, a shower here and there forced the players to pull the tarp over the infield at Miles Park. But Head Coach Billy Davis was going to miss an opportunity to build team chemistry.
Davis and the players went over signs, stragetries and mental focus preparing for the upcoming season and the District 14-3A campaign. The third-year skipper said success in 2014 starts with the glove.
“Our biggest point of emphasis has been defense,” Davis said. “Our defense is really going to make us or break us this season. If we can make the plays behind our pitching, which I think is really strong too, we’ll be able to compete in our district for the championship.”
Davis said he has full confidence in his entire defensive lineup. And the corps. up the middle will be the foundation of the Millington defense.
“I’ve got a senior catcher in Calvin Hodges,” he noted. “He’s improved throughout his four years. I look for him to have a big year. Our shortstop is junior Payton Wiginton, great hands and I expect him  to make many plays.
“Centerfielder will be Lucas VanEmelen,” Davis added. “He’s is combination of speed and power. Been playing traveling ball and he attended Under Armour camps. I expect big things for him.”
Other key infielders will be a Tipton-Rosemark Academy transfer Connor Mackin at third base.
“Our first baseman is going to be Tyler Harrison and Jacob Copeland when Harrison pitches,” Davis said. “Tyler has been with us, he’s a senior. And Copeland has been with us for four years. We’ve got an anchor over there with both guys.”
Davis said his pitching staff is a dependable unit featuring arms like Harrison, Austin Jamerson, Wiginton VanEmelen, Mackin and Hodges.
“That’s always the case, preparation by fire,” he noted. “You’ve always got to put them through it and see who can handle the game situation. We have some strong arms this year.”
To ensure victory the Trojans will need to produce runs.
“Our strategy is base on team workouts so far, I’ve seen that we have a lot of speed,” Davis noted. “I’m going to try to utilize the speed. We’re going to try to run the bases, hit and run, and steal a lot. We’re going to try to manufactor runs.”
Davis said VanEmelen will bring speed to the top of the lineup. Hodges will be a productive bat in the lower part of the lineup. Other key hitters will be Elliot Chapman, Carter Hawkins and Harrison.
With this season being year three under Davis’ guidance, the culture of Millington is changing for the better.
“Our guys have been around me, this is my third year as head coach,” he said. “I believe that culture around here is changing. We have a winning mindset. And days like today are just as important as bright, sunny days.
“As you can see we put the tarp out today to try to save practice for tomorrow,” Davis concluded. “Even on days when we can’t do much on the field, we can still learn and grasp new concepts that will be beneficial for us down the line.”

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February 2014
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