After you just watched your team get thumped 14-4 you find yourself grasping for any lifeline you can lay your hands on.
That’s what Bryan County Coach Justin Covington was doing after his team’s game with McIntosh County Academy Tuesday night and he had to have at least the trace of a smile on his face after scanning the box score.
What Covington’s eyes locked in on was a 3-for-3 night by senior Konnor Leggett that included a double and RBI.
Leggett having a three-hit night is nothing unusual. He’s been hitting like that for three years as evidenced by his being the Region 3A Public Player of the Year the last two years.
But this year has seen the sweet-swinging lefthander struggling for the first time in his career. His outburst against the Bucs lifted his average to a team high .290. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a fierce competitor who hit .397 a year ago.
“Konnor is facing a slump for the first time in his career and it’s beat him down a little,” Covington said. “But he’s putting in the time outside of practice and outside the games.
“He’s starting to come around and I expect big things out of him.”
Leggett isn’t the only Redskin having problems at the plate. As a team Bryan County is hitting .205 with Tanner Ennis, who has now played seven games after helping the basketball team reach the state playoffs, is at .286 and catcher Aidan Martin is at .257.
The Redskins have two more games to get their act together before they begin Region 3A-D1 play Tuesday when Claxton visits the new Redskins Field for a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. Bryan County played Southeast Bulloch Wednesday night and is at Jenkins County for a Friday doubleheader.
Covington is confident his team is ready to get on a roll.
“We’re doing all right,” Covington said. “We’ve faced a lot of heavy pitching and the bats have struggled because of that.
“We’re still a young team with only two seniors,” Covington said. “We’ve got a good junior class and a good sophomore class. Everything we’re doing is prepping for the region.”
Bryan County is coming off a 20-9 season which saw it advance to the second round of the state playoffs and expectations are running high.
In addition to Leggett the Redskins other senior is Martin who was first-team all-region last year and is one of the team’s leaders.
“Aidan is a sleeper,” Covington said. “He’s solid behind the plate and puts in a lot of work.
“He’s small but he has a lot of power. He packs a lot punch and he commands a presence behind the plate that’s unmatched a lot of times.”
The versatile Leggett is the most experienced pitcher and behind him it’s a plethora of possibilities that include Kris Martin, Geoff Hovis, Justin Beck, Trip Wiggins and Cooper Ennis.
Regardless of who starts at the end opponents can count on seeing Tanner Ennis who is lights out to opposing batters.
Coming off a season in which he struck out 52 in only 25 innings the strong righthander wasted no time in making his presence felt when made his debut by striking out 10 in three innings—there was a passed ball on a strikeout—against Tattnall County. He currently has 20 whiffs in 8.1 innings.
“I was a little bit nervous about letting him pitch but he wanted in and he set them down,” said Covington of Ennis’ first game after basketball ended. “He’s been phenomenal. He’s been doing a lot of pens in the off-season and after basketball practice.”
Ennis, Beck and Sean Kelly Hill got a late start due to basketball. Covington greeted them with open arms pointing out Ennis and Beck meant two more arms in the bullpen and a lot more experience in the field. Hill stepped in at second while Ennis and Beck start in the outfield.
Martin is set behind the plate while Beck, Ennis and Leggett man the outfield. Hill has a lock at second while Cooper Ennis is in the mix at third with Wiggins and shortstop with Hovis. John Good and AJ Thomas hold down first.
“Baseball’s all about the nine on the field,” Covington said. “But we’ve got a bench that’s solid. If we have a man go down the next man is ready.”