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Youth movement


The Raiders Baseball team is undergoing a youth movement at the moment, but Coach Marc Taylor said his team is ready to get on the field and work toward their first 12th Region Tournament appearance since 2010.
The Raiders are dominated by underclassmen with 17 of the 22 roster spots are filled by either freshmen or sophomores. Senior Justin Trammell will likely get the lion’s share of starts on the mound, backed up by fellow senior Zech Moore out of the pen and a cast of young hurlers carrying the rest of the load.
“There’s a good chance that we will have three freshmen filling out our starting rotation,” Taylor said. “Of 12 pitchers on the roster, seven are freshmen, so we will have plenty of young arms to throw out of the bull pen. With pitch counts and the way the schedule is, it will be important to have those guys who can eat up innings out of the pen, and we should be able to do that.”
Taylor said despite the relative youth on the roster, he sees the team growing together.
“We have a couple of freshmen with varsity experience, so that helps. But we will have to grow as we go,” he said. “I see them maturing over the next couple seasons and hopefully we can compete with, and overtake Southwestern and Wayne County.”
The overall goal, or vision, Taylor said, is to develop in to a team that can contend in the Region. But the immediate focus is on growing and getting stronger.
“The focus is on ourselves right now,” he said. “We have to concentrate on getting better every day.”
“We have our work cut out for us, but these guys have worked very hard in the pre season, and everyone has improved and seems to be committed to the culture we are trying to develop.”
Looking at the rest of the 48th District defending District Champion Southwestern faces the same building process as McCreary. Only 2 seniors remain from the team that went all the way to the 12th Region Championship game last season.
Taylor says the Warriors can rebound quickly from the losses.
“They lost a pretty talented senior group, but I feel they reload most of the time and don’t have to rebuild.”
Wayne County looks, on paper, to be the pre-season front runners for the District title.
Taylor says the Cardinals are going to be tough competition, but not out of reach for the Raiders.
“Wayne County still has a decent nucleus from the last couple of teams,” he said. “But we are closer to them than we have been.”
Taylor expressed gratitude to the Board of Education and Superintendent Mike Cash for completing the work on the locker room and all-weather hitting facility, and the addition of another assistant coach.
“The hitting cage has been great for us this spring,” he said. “We haven’t had to miss a day hitting due to weather, and that has helped us be ahead of where we have been in the past in getting ready.”
“The new assistant coach is a wonderful addition as well,” he added. “With all the young talent on the field, it is important that we can give them as much individual and group instruction and support that we can.”
The Raiders kick off the 2017 season this weekend at the Jack Lay/ Oneida City Tournament this Thursday through Saturday. The home opener is scheduled for Friday, March 24 when McCreary hosts Casey County.

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