Young players beginning to mature for Wade Hampton
By C.R. Cumbee
Varnville—The Wade Hampton baseball team is going through a youth movement while also adjusting to a new coach. Former Barnwell and Greenwood skipper Joel Vaughn took over the program and has helped the Red Devils to a 5-4 (3-2) record through the early portion of the season.
“I always have high expectations. It’s just that jelling factor of getting them to trust you and getting to trust them. We’ve developed that pretty quick. The youthfulness shows up whether we win or lose. We’re making some mistakes right now that I don’t see us making in the near future because we have so many talented kids,” Vaughn said.
The bulk of the pitching staff is made up of three sophomores and a freshman, but they have all done a solid job so far. Evan McCutchen, Jacob Cope and Casyn Dobson are the starters while Matt Poston has seen the most innings in relief.
“I see a whole lot of potential. Sometimes you want to speed time up a little bit, but you have to let the maturation process happen. Every bump we’ve had so far has been a learning experience,” Vaughn said.
That core group of four players has also led the team at the plate. Dobson has a team-best .360 average with seven runs batted in. Cope is hitting .333 with 5 RBI, and Poston has scored 11 runs while batting .316. McCutchen has driven in eight runs to go with a .318 average.
Four seniors are in the lineup as well, including second baseman DeKelly Pittinger, third baseman/catcher Nick Soto, right fielder Jordan Frazier and designated hitter Adrian Scheller.
“He’s just a selfless leader,” Vaughn said of Soto. “He comes every day and when he’s good, we’re good. He gets everybody where they need to be and doing what they need to do. He’s stepped up into that leadership position.”
Sophomore centerfielder Dylan Mock, freshman catcher/shortstop/relief pitcher Adam Creswell and junior pitcher TJ Kinard are others that see plenty of action.
Other players on the roster this spring are Quayshon Williams, Tristan Shipes, Brendan Smith, BJ McAlhaney and Collin Padget.