• 68°

Spring counts on pitchers to lead BHS

Pitching should be a strength for the Ole Brook baseball team.The Panthers launch their 2006 season Saturday in the ColumbiaTournament, playing Hattiesburg at 10 a.m. and Perry Central at 3p.m.

Ole Brook’s first home game. is Feb. 24, against FranklinCounty.

Spring lost outfielder Darius Perkins, The DAILY LEADER’s 2005All-Lincoln County MVP; catcher/first baseman Grant McDonnieal andoutfielder Guy Orr. Outfielder Jacob Dunn was killed in an autoaccident last summer.

“I feel good about our pitching,” said Spring. “We havedepth.

“Paxton King and Brandt Hinton were our district starters lastyear. Cole Newell and Josh Coone got some wins, too.”

Hinton posted a 6-3 record last season and a 1.35 ERA. King was2-3 with a 2.92 ERA as a freshman. Newell (3-1, 1.80 ERA) and Coone(2-3, 3.16 ERA) should be stronger and faster this year.

Mitch Pappas returns at catcher. First base has severalcontenders. Zach Watson returns at second base, Elliott Warren atshortstop and Newell at third base.

Starting outfielders will depend upon who is on the mound.Hinton, Coon, King, Marlon Dixon and T.J. Qualls are theleaders.

Garrion Crockett returns as the team’s designated hitter. He hit5 homers last season and batted .378.

Pappas batted .353 last season as a sophomore. Warren batted.319, and King .310.

Asked about the Division 6-4A race, Spring gave the nod todefending division champion Lawrence County.

“Lawrence County is definitely the team to beat,” said Spring.”I think Terry will be behind them and they should be very tough.McComb is strong. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things aboutFlorence.”

Florence, Port Gibson and Mendenhall are newcomers to thedivision. They replace South Pike, Wingfield and Jackson JimHill.

The division schedule has reverted to a single varsity game onTuesdays and a doubleheader on Fridays.

Spring, a Pike County native, begins his seventh campaign at thehelm. His Panthers won the Class 4A state championship in 2004.

New assistant coach Dustin Lott works with infielders andhandles the junior high program. Eric Stokes is coaching pitchers.Longtime assistant Dwayne Oberschmidt will help with theoutfielders and assist with the junior high.