By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Scotty Yount Era at Munford High School is officially underway.
The veteran baseball skipper arrived to Tipton County with a vast knowledge of the game and impact on youth baseball throughout the Mid-South.
“I’ve been involved in baseball my whole life,” she said. “I played for the Memphis Tigers (travelers) growing up. I played at Kirby High School under Head Coach Bubba Yates. Then I graduated in 1988.”
After graduating, Yount played on the college level at McKendree University with the Bearcats in Illinois on a scholarship. Then he jumped into the coaching ranks with the Memphis Tigers 14s with Johnny Beard. Yount moved to the varsity ranks under Marc MacMillan at MUS for 6 years.
Then 2008 came testing Yount’s devotion to developing young baseball talent in the area. Working for a small logistic company, Yount received a phone call on January 9 that would change his life.
“I will never forget that day,” he recalled. “They let me go.”
Yount called his wife and she encouraged him to go back to school to get his degree so he could teach. Yount wanted to be around his student-athletes more to help them overall as players and pupils.
Bolton’s Chris Godwin called and offered Yount a position between semesters.
“I’ve had the good fortune of being an assistant under some good ones,” Yount said.
Then Yount became the man in charge at Bolton. This past summer he was looking to make a move and heard about the opening at Munford with Jake Garbuzinski taking a college coaching job.
“When they called me to interview for the job, I was so humbled,” Yount said. “I said to myself, ‘I’ll just go up there for the experience.’ I was sure they wouldn’t hire me. A couple of hours in, I was all in. My wife and I talked about it the night before what if they do offer it. After meeting with Dr. Fee and Mr. Huffman, I was really comfortable.
“As far as the school goes, I love it,” he continued. “The kids accepted me and took care of me the first week. The way they do things is a lot different from what I’m used to. I love it. I moved my family up here. We’ve been up here for two weeks now. I sold my house in Bartlett. My kids will be going to Munford next year. This is home now.”
And Yount feels at home on the diamond with a talented roster returning with 12 seniors.
“These kids can play,” he said. “This senior group can play. I’ve been spending the time trying to implement a system so we can have the type of year these kids deserve.”
Yount said he has a talented enough senior group that some will be playing college baseball next year. He added the 2017 season will play a big part in colleges coming to scoop up his 12th graders.
Pitchingwise, the Cougars will look to Corey Simmons, Austin Perry, Nick Johnson and transfer Nate Mathis.
“We think we’ve got 11 or 12 guys we can plug innings out of,” Yount noted. “Some of them have never thrown a high school pitch. With the new pitch count rule, that will help us out.”
During the preseason Yount developed full confidence in his offense watching his batters put runs on the board frequently.
“We’ll be solid one through nine when it’s all said and done,” he said. “Right now we’re looking at Corey Simmons leading us off. You look up the definition of baseball player in the dictionary, I think a picture of Corey Simmons would be right there. Just great instincts, good approach at the plate, good bat speed and he can run a little bit.
“Then you’ve got a Kyle Kelly, a kid who can handle the bat,” Yount added. “I love to put a kid like that in the two-hole. Then the middle of the lineup you’re looking at a combination of Kendrick, Baugh and Perry. Any combination of the three, four and five, we’ve just have to find what is working for us.”
Garrett Baugh and Steven Kendrick will provide some pop in the middle of the lineup. Kendrick reached double digits in home runs last season.
Yount said in order for his first season at Munford to be successful, his team has to focus on what it can control.
“Mentally, we just have to be who we are and not get caught up in the hoopla,” he said. “We’ve just got to do our jobs and just pull for each other. We have to treat every game and the ones in between like it’s just another game.
“Let’s just control what we can control and we’ll be fine in the end,” Yount concluded. “We’ve got too many weapons and too many ways to do things that if they buy into the system and support one another through the process, we’ll be fine.”