Inexperience roams baseball field at Jefferson
There will be no riding on other players’ coattails at Jefferson this baseball season. After over 40 consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins, the Cougars will field a youthful combination of first-year starters and some returnees who generally stood in the long shadows cast by last year’s seniors.
Pitching will be in the mostly untried hands of Taylor Tennant, David Dinges, Jordan Trunnell, Zac Rose and Dalton Reed. Dinges is slated to start today’s 4 p.m. home opener against Blue Ridge (Pa.), with Tennant going tomorrow in a Sectional matchup at Hampshire.
Outfielder Cory Roman is one of the few players with any starting experience. Shortstop Cory Daley made several starts in 2017. Tennant will play second base when not pitching, with outfielder Danny Brennan and Dinges also in the lineup in the season’s early going. Dinges will be at first base when not pitching.
Outfielder Stevie Lee is penciled as the starter in left field. Lee runs better than most of the other Cougars, and is only a sophomore. First-year starter Dylan McCartney is the catcher because of his defensive work. Cullen Horowicz, although only a freshman, has won the job at third base. He could be one of the team’s high-average hitters. Hayden Strang is the likely designated hitter in the season opener.
The majority of the roster is versatile enough to play more than one position, though not ready to start often. Outfielder Michael Jeffries runs well, and first baseman Isaac Carroll will be in the lineup when Dinges pitches. Reed can also play first base and the outfield.
A host of first-year infielders are available to coach John Lowery, who has coached the Cougars since the school’s first season in 1973. Mason Lantz, Regan Allinger, James Walsh, Chase Anderson, Brooks Lowery and Trunnell will be backups in the early going. Coleson Titus can catch, and Cameron Winston has been tried as a pitcher in scrimmage games. Winston also plays the outfield.
Actually, the only thing set is that this will be the most inexperienced team in school history. And youth is scattered everywhere you look. With McCartney catching and Horowicz at third as better-than-average fielders, the Cougars just might win some one-run games with their defense.
Scoring runs will be limited at times, but if the players realize the value of walks and hit batsmen, that would help immeasurably.
Jefferson’s mid-March lineup may vary greatly from that used by Lowery in early May. Virtually nobody is tried and true. And virtually everybody has to find ways to contribute somehow for this team to accomplish what Jefferson baseball has done for more than four decades.