By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Nearly 70 percent of Head Coach Zane Adams’ Millington Trojan Baseball roster is made up of underclassmen.
Adams is glad to have five dependable seniors to navigate the 2017 schedule including league competition like Covington, Ripley and Haywood.
“They’re looking pretty good,” Adams said. “I’ve got a young group this year. I have 21 on the roster. And 15 of them are either freshmen or sophomores this year. I have one junior and five seniors.”
The Millington seniors are Garrett Dooley, Jordan Tincher, Sean “Veggie” Oglesby, Sam Stanifer and Chandler Hart. Those names will pop up throughout the lineup and rotation for the Trojans in 2017. But Adams will incorporate his youth into the mix including as pitchers.
“It’s going to be a lot of young kids for sure,” he noted. “I will start with Garrett and Jordan. Dooley had been a three-year starter for me. As of right now he’s looking like my No. 1. He’ll be my Monday guy. Jordan is going to be my Tuesday guy. They’re both are seniors. It could also be Sean Oglesby in that spot. They’re battling for the two-, three-spot.”
That solo junior on the roster Josh Groom will be the one catching the Millington arms. Adams said Groom will be working with the younger hurlers as there will be an extra need for arms with the new state pitch-count rule. So look for young pitchers Sam Johnson and Hector Irizarry to see plenty of innings.
“You can pick anybody off that roster and they’re going to have to pitch some,” he said. “It will be a real team. Majority of my team will play JV. They will be playing junior varsity and varsity.”
Young players means youthful bats in the lineup. Adams said he will depend on his veteran Tincher to set the tempo each game.
“I will probably have Jordan in my leadoff spot,” he said. “Jordan is the type of player that he’s not going to be anything fancy or flashy. He’s going to be consistent. He’s going to step in the box and put your bunt down when you need a bunt. He’s going to get your base hit when you need a base hit. At times he’ll show power and hit it gap to gap.
“I don’t have really any big power guys,” Adams added. “So we’re going to be small ball. You have to get on first and then bunt him to second. Some hit and run, be patient at the plate. I’m want them to be patient but at the same time I want them to be aggressive. My guys get too patient and take too many pitches.”
Adams said players like Chase Wolfe have to be smart while being aggressive at the plate to compete in a tough league.
“In our league you can finished top to bottom,” he noted. “You know how baseball is. If you get hot at the right time. One inning here or one inning there changes the whole outlook of a ball game.”
Last season the Trojans beat league foes Ripley, Covington and Jackson North Side. But toward the end of the 2016 campaign Millington faded out of the picture.
Adams said the 2017 Trojans need to also start strong but stay steady heading into May.
“We’ve gotten better and more consistent,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been preaching to them. Everybody on the team has played baseball the majority of their life. We talked about it the other day, ‘Baseball has been around for more than 100 years. Not much has changed in more than 100 years. Bases are still 90 feet apart. You get three strikes and three outs in an inning. You’ve got 60-feet, 6-inches to pitch.’ I told them, ‘I don’t want you to come out here and change anything. I just want you to come out there and play the game.’
“That’s the big thing I’ve been working with them and preaching to them in the first month of practice,” Adams concluded. “Just come out and play the game you’ve been playing your entire life.”