Young varsity baseball team faces uphill battle
Published 5:27 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022
By Brian Pitts
East Forsyth’s baseball team is absolutely loaded. Reagan, the defending champion in the Central Piedmont Conference, and West Forsyth are always strong.
Meanwhile, young Davie entered the season lugging its longest losing streak since 2010.
Despite the odds being stacked against Davie in 2022, new coach Joey Anderson doesn’t plan on his War Eagles being a day-at-the-beach opponent.
“We’re young but we’re going to surprise some people,” said Anderson, who is the interim coach after Bradley Rudisill left Davie during the first semester. “I’m excited about the youth and what’s coming. I’m excited about where we’re going. We’re going to be fast and we’re going to come to play. We’re not just going to show up.”
Rudisill was at the reins for three years. Last year Davie went 5-8, finished fourth in the CPC and closed the season with five straight losses. Anderson’s assistants are Ross Hoffner, Ty Woodring and Sam Wyrick.
The first batter in the order could very well be Coy James, an absurdly talented freshman. Two of the top three hitters from 2021 are back in Davin Whitaker (.351), the No. 1 returning hitter, and Wesley Mason (.342), who led Davie in runs (nine) and steals (nine).
“(After James) we’ll probably have Parker Aderhold or Mason in the two hole,” Anderson said. “I like to have speed at the bottom of the lineup, too, so I might move Wesley down. Davin is probably going to hit third.”
Anderson said the defense “should be very strong.” The most important position, shortstop, will be handled by the freshman.
“Coy has a strong arm and he works hard,” Anderson said. “He’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve seen. I mean, he gets after it. He’s got a swagger to him, but he’s also humble enough to know he has to continue to work to be good.”
Aderhold, a junior, is Mr. Versatility. “Aderhold pretty much plays everywhere except catcher,” he said.
The catchers are senior Daniel Lawson and freshman Drew Krause. Lawson is dealing with an injury.
“Hopefully he’ll be back shortly,” Anderson said. “Drew is very good behind the plate. Daniel has been working with him quite a bit. He’s got a great arm. Yeah, he’s going to take some freshman lumps, but he’s going to be learning in the process.”
Aderhold, senior JT Bumgarner and Lawson are possibilities at first base.
“Lawson might mix in at first until everything gets right with him just to get his bat in the lineup,” he said.
Junior Jackson Sink, junior Parker Simmons and Aderhold are options at second. Simmons could slide to short if James goes to the mound.
Whitaker, Aderhold and sophomore Cooper Bliss are possible third basemen.
“Aderhold can play third and I can move Davin to the outfield,” he said. “There’s a lot of interchangeable parts.”
Mason, a senior, and sophomore Ty Miller look locked in at center and left field, respectively. Simmons, Bliss, Whitaker and Aderhold could be in right field.
“Wesley is very quick and very good out there,” he said. “He does a very good job of communicating with everybody else.”
Junior Jaydon Holder and senior Bayden Hazlip will play major roles on the mound. Holder, though, is recovering from an injury.
“That’s two crafty lefthanders,” Anderson said. “They throw a lot of strikes. Jaydon is throwing at about 80 percent right now. I’m hoping by maybe the second week of March is when I can get him back to starting. So I’m going to have to use some other guys to fill the gaps. Bayden is obviously going to start, and I’m hoping I don’t have to use too many arms when he pitches.”
Sophomore Braeden Rodgers, sophomore Cole Whitaker, junior Caleb Adkins, Sink, James and D. Whitaker are the other pitchers.
“With Coy being a freshman, I’m not going to rush him to the mound,” he said. “Everybody knows Coy is electric in a lot of different areas, but we’re going to tread lightly with him because he hasn’t pitched in a while.”
Last year Davie went 5-5 in the CPC and looked up at Reagan (9-1), East (8-2) and West (6-4). The War Eagles face an enormous challenge in trying to break into the top three, but Anderson isn’t concerned with what everybody else has. His focus is on Davie.
“As far as I know, East Forsyth is probably the frontrunner,” he said. “I try not to get caught up in the hype. I try to just worry about what’s going on with Davie. I don’t talk about what everybody else is doing because if we’re worried about what everybody else is doing, then we’re not concentrating on what we need to get done.”
The 16-man roster has four seniors (Mason, Lawson, Bumgarner and Hazlip), six juniors (Simmons, Aderhold, Sink, Holder, Adkins and D. Whitaker), four sophomores (Miller, C. Whitaker, Bliss and Rodgers) and two freshmen (James and Krause).