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Wade Hampton High School
Varnville

Wade Hampton makes strides in Vaughn’s first year

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Varnville—With a revolving door of coaches the last several years, it seems like the Wade Hampton baseball team has some stability with Joel Vaughn. In his first season with the program, the Red Devils went 14-8 (9-3) overall and placed second in the region.

 “I think we laid the foundation. We’ll have a good corps of about six or seven kids that contributed a lot coming back so we’re real excited about that,” Vaughn said.

Wade Hampton won its first-round playoff game at Strom Thurmond, but dropped its next two contests and was eliminated from the postseason. With the final game, the Red Devils had to bid farewell to its four seniors – second baseman DeKelly Pittinger, catcher Nick Soto, outfielder Jordan Frazier and designated hitter Adrian Scheller.

“We had some seniors in some spots that helped us out. We’re going to miss some of that senior leadership they had. It was very beneficial for those ninth and tenth-graders to be around those seniors. They bought in and did what I asked and we’re going to miss those guys,” Vaughn said.

Pitching should be a strength of the team next spring, as all the top arms return. Evan McCutchen was only a freshman while Jacob Cope, Casyn Dobson and Matt Poston were sophomores. Dobson also led the team in hitting with an average just shy of .400.

“We’ve got all 14 of our wins coming back. Those guys are going to buy into the weight room and me being here with them for a full summer will help out,” Vaughn said.

Also returning next year is shortstop Adam Creswell and outfielder Dylan Mock. Other players hoping to have a more prevalent role include T.J. Kinard, Quayshon Williams, Tristan Shipes, Brendan Smith, BJ McAlhaney and Collin Padget.

“It’s going to be interesting to see them play against kids their own age. (Strom Thurmond) Coach (Mack) Hite told me we probably had the best jayvee team in the state. It was neat to take those young guys into a playoff environment. A lot of them had never experienced that. We held our own and now our kids are battle tested,” Vaughn said.

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