Head coach Al Butler and the new version of the Redskin baseball team have been active as of late.
Although they did not participate in a sanctioned summer league, Butler has had them out on Redskin Field practicing and they just completed their third tournament this month in order to "fill in the holes created when the seniors left."
"What we’ve done is play around with the lineup to see who can do what. I put some of the players in unfamiliar positions to see where everyone’s are," said Butler. "We’re going to really evaluate what we’ve got and piece it together like a puzzle to make a strong team."
Butler said these summer workouts have given him an idea of what to look forward to next season.
"Defensively, we’re pretty strong, a few questions still remain about our offense," he said.
He said the tournaments they played were just for practice, with no final placing for teams. They featured the likes of Vidalia, Statesboro, Dublin, Toombs County and Appling County. According to Butler, the team held their own.
"The one thing we took out of summer is we played a lot of great teams," said Butler. "Out of 17 games, we were only out ruled 1 time. That was the biggest compliment. The losses we had were narrow losses."
The Redskins just lost a strong group of graduating seniors. AASU-bound pitcher Wesley Wilkes was the most dominant player this past season, a season in which the Skins make it to state.
Shortstop Aaron Dudley was a potent lead-off player and hit over .400. Andrew Cook hit .320 and Butler commented "you couldn’t steal from this kid."
The team also lost outfielder Trey Boatright who also could hit over .300.
Second baseman and pitcher Ricky Myrick is also gone.
Boatright and Dudley both turned down partial athletic scholarship offers from Brewton Parker and have both accepted walk-on roles to the ABAC baseball teams in Tifton. Myrick turned down both a full scholarship offer from Paine College and a walk-on offer from ABAC, choosing instead to stay local.
He plans to try at GSU in the next couple of weeks. Also, several colleges have expressed interest in Andrew Cook, who is considered by many as the best catcher in the league. Cook is undecided as of yet where he will wind up.
"We lost five of the top six bats in our lineup and the whole middle of our defense field," said Butler. He said the other hot bat belongs to junior Kurt Shuman. Shuman batted third last season and remains in the current lineup. In addition to Shuman, Justin Covington has "also been hitting the ball especially well this summer."
Butler said there are some other bright spots in the new formation will several rising stars who showed a lot of promise for the forthcoming regular season.
Brad Cowart is back with the team after a hiatus and, oddly enough, it looks like will be the lone senior on the team.
"He’s throwing well and he’s going to help us greatly on the mound," said Butler.
"Cameron Lee has been a great surprise this summer," said Butler. "He hit several balls that turned into triples and this past weekend hit first homer. We’ve got several potential power players. Another big thing is a lot of the younger guys have gained a lot of confidence over the summer."
Butler also mentioned the summer achievements of junior Tyler Moody, who "has done a fantastic job at second base all summer", and sophomore Cody Crowe, who "has done a good job at short stop".
Pitching wise, he named Cowart, Covington and Bryce Mingeldorff as the stars.
On Mingeldorff, Butler said he "has played every position this summer. Bryce is a great defensive player and we’re trying to figure out what would be best position for the team to put him in."
At bat, Butler envisions Covington leading off, Crowe to move him over, followed by Shuman and Ming Lee.
Butler said the practice games have ceased, but the team will continue practicing at home and spending some time in the weight room throughout the remainder of the summer.