Diamond Wolves tote bull’s eye into ’02 season debut

Published 6:00 am Thursday, February 14, 2002

WESSON – The Co-Lin Wolves might be considered underdogs bytheir coaches but they have a large bull’s eye on their uniforms asthe 2002 season gets under way. Their first test arrives Fridaywhen they host the defending state champion Mississippi DeltaCommunity College Trojans for a doubleheader. The first game startsat 3 p.m., on Sullivan Field.

Co-Lin was ranked No. 4 in the NJCAA Division II preseasonnational poll. The Wolves have won the Region 23 Tournament threeof the last four years, including last season. They advanced to theCentral District playoffs and were within one victory of reachingthe Division II World Series for a second straight year.

Co-Lin head coach Keith Case is launching his 10th campaign atCo-Lin. His team finished 34-28 last season.

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Looking at this year’s team, Case said his pitching staff wasthe hit hard by graduation. Two of his pitchers, Jacob Blakeny andJosh Garrett, signed early scholarships with Mississippi State andSouthern Miss respectively. Garrett later transferred toBelhaven.

Sophomore hurlers Chris Kennedy (3-1), Chuckie Stracener (4-2)and Doug Atkins (3-7) also graduated. Jacob Hartwig, a sophomorefrom Mendenhall, compiled a 2-0 record last season and a 5.14ERA.

“We are not as good as we need to be on the mound,” said Case.”I hope we can make some adjustments as the season goes along.”

Pete Young serves as pitching coach at Co-Lin. A Pike Countynative, Young was a star pitcher at Mississippi State beforespending a few years in Major League Baseball.

Overall, Case said the Wolves must swing the bat better. “We arenot consistent at the plate. We have good days and bad days.”

Case said, “We have a tough schedule. Delta won the state titlelast year. They are strong. They’ll bring a tough team in hereFriday.”

Looking at the South Division portion of Co-Lin’s schedule, Casesaid the league should be balanced and strong. Hinds, Pearl River,East Central, Jones County, Southwest and Gulf Coast are Southfoes.

Case said sophomore hurler Derek Atkins of Thibodeaux, La., isstill having some shoulder problems. Atkins, 8-2 last season with a3.57 ERA, is scheduled to start the first game Friday. He was anearly signee with Mississippi State.

Highly-touted freshman Cole Zumbro of Meadville will start thesecond game tomorrow. On Saturday, freshman Mitch Magnum of Mageewill start against East Mississippi.

Co-Lin has veterans returning at most positions. Behind theplate is sophomore David Gray of Baton Rouge. At first base aresophomores Seth Lofton of Brookhaven and Brandon Holleman of DenhamSprings, La.. Working at second base is sophomore Matt Lea ofClinton. At shortstop is sophomore Kyle Beall of Greenwell Springs,La. At third base, sophomores Ryan Davis of Natchez and ChristopherRobinson Smithdale will share time.

In the outfield, freshman Fred Perkins of Brookhaven will startin left. Sophomore Arlandus Brown of Brookhaven will be in centerand freshman Paris Dancy of Pensacola, Fla. will be in right.

Working as designated hitter are Zumbro and freshman Chase Coleyof Brookhaven.

Offensively, Beall leads the returning crew. He batted .318 andhit 4 doubles last year. Brown batted .299 as a freshman and stole33 bases.

Lea batted .293 and hit 8 doubles. Lofton batted .288, hit 6doubles and 2 homers. Holleman was next at .253 with 2 homers. Graybatted .206 and hit 5 doubles.

“We must have a blue-collar attitude about our situation,” saidCase. “We have to work hard every day in practice and try to getbetter each game.”

@Bbstandings:Co-Lin Baseball Roster

PITCHERS: Miguel Banks RH (6-1, 160, fr.), Brookhaven;Michael Edwards RH (5-9, 140, fr.), Monticello; Cole Zumbro RH(6-2, 220, fr.), McCall Creek; Christopher Robinson RH (6-1, 215,so.), Smithdale; Mitch Mangum RH (6-2, 165, fr.), Magee; SethLofton LH (6-1, 195, so.), Brookhaven; Jacob Hartwig RH (6-2, 155,so.) D’Lo.; Derek Atkins RH (6-4, 225, so.), Thibodeaux,La.

CATCHERS: David Gray (6-1, 190, so.), Baton Rouge, La.Aaron Oberschmidt (5-7, 160, fr.), Brookhaven; Jeb Lee (6-0, 200,fr.), Magee; Chase Coley (5-9, 175, fr.), Brookhaven.

INFIELDERS: Matthew Lee (6-0, 165, so.), Clinton;Brandon Holleman (6-1, 220, so.), Denham Springs, La.; Ryan Davis(5-11, 196, so.), Natchez; Kendell Poole (6-2, 195, fr.),Brookhaven; Kyle Beall (6-0, 160, so.), Baton Rouge,La..

OUTFIELDERS: Arlandus Brown (6-1, 160, so.) Brookhaven;Travis Smith (5-9, 160, so.), Wesson; Paris Dancy (6-1, 180, fr.),Pensacola, Fla.; Fred Perkins (6-3, 225, fr.), Brookhaven; NathanEvans (6-0, 200, fr.), Monticello.

2002 Co-Lin Baseball Schedule

FEBRUARY: 15-Miss Delta, 3 pm.; 16-East Miss., 1 p.m.;23-At Delgado (LA), 4 p.m.; and Hibbing, MN, 7 p.m.; ; 25-SouthwestTenn., 2 p.m.; 28-At Miss. Delta, 2 p.m.

MARCH: 2-At Southwest Tenn., 2 p.m.; 5-Southwest 4 p.m.;9-Jones County 1 p.m.; 11-Kishwaukee (lL.) 4 p.m.; 12-Kishwaukee, 1p.m.; 14-Hibbing (MN), 4 p.m.; 16-Northern Essex (IL), 12 p.m.;20-At East Central, 2 p.m.; 23-At Miss. Gulf Coast, 1 p.m.,26-Hinds, 4 p.m.; 29-At LSU-Eunice, 1 p.m.

APRIL: 2-Pearl River, 4 p.m.; 3-Delgado, 4 p.m.; 6-AtSouthwest, 1 p.m.; 9-At Jones County, 4 p.m.; 11-Bevill State (Al),at Livingston, 4 p.m.; 13-East Central, 1 p.m.; 17-Gulf Coast, 4p.m.; 20-At Hinds, 1 p.m.; 23-LSU-Eunice, 3 p.m.; 27-At PearlRiver, 1 p.m.

MAY: 3-5 MACJC State Tournament at North Divisionchampion; 10-12 NJCAA Region 23 Division II Tournament at SouthChampion; 16-18 NJCAA Central District Tournament at Region 7Champion; 24-31 NJCAA Division II World Series at Millington,Tenn.