Whale Branch trying to play up to potential
By C.R. Cumbee
Seabrook—The Whale Branch baseball team finished fourth in the region last year before losing a pair of playoff games, but after moving into a new conference this spring, the Warriors are ready to contend for an even higher place in the standings.
Head coach Emanuel Wheeler’s squad opened the season with a 3-3 record, including a 3-1 mark in Region 6-AA.
“We haven’t played to our potential yet. It has been a challenge and we’ve shown some signs, but I’m a stickler when it comes to certain situations,” Wheeler said.
Leading the way for Whale Branch is senior pitcher/outfielder Ryan Murray-Green, who is the ace of the pitching staff while batting .429 this season.
“He’s a mid-major Division-I type of kid. He throws about 87 on the bump and can spin it. The team goes when he goes. He has an infectious personality and he tries to keep the team at an even-keel, not get too high or too low,” Wheeler said.
Sophomore Ervin Mulligan, a three-year starter, starts at catcher while also serving as the No. 2 pitcher. A standout running back on the football team, he has great speed and is hitting a team-high .714 on the year.
“He started at third base as an eighth-grader for us two years ago. This is his third on varsity and he’s seen what the other guys are throwing. He has a great understanding of what to do with those pitches. He’ll have the opportunity to play at the next level, but he might be a better football player,” Wheeler said.
Other key players in the lineup include leadoff hitter and third baseman Jaren Cantorn, shortstop/pitcher Steven Colon (.375 average) and senior first baseman Judah Wood (.364). Marquell Moultrie is at second base and Jamori Allen is a utility player.
The outfield has been played by committee, with senior centerfielder Tyler Smith the lone everyday starter. De-Arius Hazel and Jamel Moultrie have split time in left field while TreVaughn Hipp and Keith Bing each see action in right field.
Rounding out the roster this year is Jalen Parrales, Chance Stephenson, Tyrone Wright, Joshua Fields and Washington-Jenkins.