By Thomas Sellers Jr.
There have been several physical changes around the Millington Trojan Baseball program since last May.
The Trojans have reconstructed their home field at Miles Park and a new indoor-practice facility is ready to use. Add in the work the players and coaches have done on the actual diamond, spectators to Millington Baseball game in 2018 will see the difference.
Millington Head Coach Zane Adams hopes Trojan faithful will also see a difference with his players on the field taking another step forward in become a traditional winner.
Since Adams took over the Trojans have been signing players to the next level including 2017 graduate Garrett Dooley to Christian Brothers University. Once again the Trojan Skipper has to replace an ace like Dooley and Noah Graham from 2016.
“For the conditions that we’ve been dealing with, they’ve been coming in working hard trying to get better every day,” Adams said. “I’m young but I’m young with a bunch of guys who want to be here to get better.
“Pitching is probably going to be my weakest point this year,” he acknowledged. “We’ve got to develop some young talent. I’ve already talked to a few guys, ‘Look, you’re going to be thrown into the wolves this year. Just do the best you can.’ I have some returning guys who have gotten stronger in the offseason.”
The next Graham or Dooley might be returning Trojans Chase Wolfe, Chad Chadwick, Sam Johnson and left-handed freshman Trevor Meadows. Those arms will take on the District 15-2A competition of Haywood, Ripley, Covington and newcomers Bolivar Center and Fayette-Ware.
The Trojans will try to produce offense against those teams led by solo-senior Josh Groom. His everyday duties will be catcher and third base. Groom will be featured in the middle of the batting order.
Other notables in the lineup will be Caleb Stephens, Dean Karash and Tommy Clifton.
“A lot of my young guys saw time last year,” Adams said. “A lot of them have gotten stronger in the offseason. We’re going to play small ball and try to get guys on and move him over leading up to that big hit.”
When Millington won games in 2017 the defense was solid but when the Trojans suffered defeat, it was lapses in the field that opened up the flood gates.
Adams said those moments have taught his players the importance of continuous focus in the field of play. He noted the infield is his strongest point in the preseason with Karash, Johnson, Clifton and Stephens.
In the outfield players like Wolfe and Drake Shepard are earning time. While Adams and staff evaluate the rest of the talent, the leader of the Trojans said his preseason has been busy focusing on Millington Baseball.
“I don’t know anything about them (new district teams),” he acknowledged. “I figure they will be good teams. Covington is going to be solid again this year. They have everybody coming back. Ripley is always scrappy even though they lost quite a bit from last year.
“Haywood lost a few guys but they’ll bring it every game,” Adams added. “I feel like we can match up with a majority of them and try to sneak a win out of those games where we don’t match up so well.”
Adams said as long as his players take care of their responsibilities and continue to grow, they will have more positive results in the long run.
“I tell them this all the time, ‘You’ve played this game your whole life,’” he said. “‘It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against, it’s still 60-feet, 6-inches from the mound and 90 feet to the bases. Just go out and do what you do. It doesn’t matter who you’re going against.’
“These young ones don’t know and they have nothing to lose,” Adams concluded. “They can only go up from here. This is a beginning for them. A lot of them can write a four-year story. They have the opportunity to be four-year starters. They don’t have to worry about anything, just go out there and do it.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.