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Central High School
Pageland

Central baseball off to encouraging start

By Ken Buck

Staff Writer

Pageland— The Central High baseball team is off to an encouraging start to the 2019 season under the guidance of Veteran Head Coach Mitch Leaird.

“It’s good pretty good for us so far,” says Leaird. “We are just like everybody else in that we having to deal with the rain causing postponements early in the year. We missed both of our scrimmages and we only got in two of our four preseason tournament games so we are just trying to play catch up. By now we should have played 10 to 12 games but we have only played six times.”

Central began the season winning five of those first six games.

Central has beaten Lancaster 8-4, won over Andrew Jackson 2-0, beat Cheraw 5-0, defeated North Central 19-5, and lost to Buford 5-2. A 4-3 over Chesterfield gave Central a 2-1 region record.

The Central has a couple of players who have played varsity ball but overall Leaird said that his team is relatively young with a good number of guys who did not play varsity ball last year.

“We had a lot of seniors on last year’s team and even though we have a really good junior class, a lot of them played junior varsity last year,” he says. “They weren’t going to get a lot of playing time last year on varsity so we left them on junior varsity to get experience.

“We have a very inexperienced team as far as varsity experience goes.”

Pitching is been a bit inconsistent.

“We just don’t have that go to go that we know we can pitch in a big game,” says Leaird. “Right now it is a pitching staff by committee.”

In the Andrew Jackson game, the Buford game, and the Chesterfield match up, Central pitched seven pitchers for one inning each.

“We just predetermined it before the game,” says Leaird. “We told them who was going to pitch the first inning, the second inning, and so on. That are some positives to that and of course some negatives, like if someone throws a great inning and you want to leave them out there, but we determined before the game what we were going to do and we tried to stick by that.”

He added that a lot of it comes so many postponements early on and really not knowing who is ready as a pitcher in a game situation.

“Here we are in middle of March and we still have questions marks that we would have probably had answered by now if we had been able to get in all of these scrimmages and preseason tournaments,” Leaird says. “We will continue to experiment with it some.”

He also said that the pitch count rules come into play as well but that by spreading it out the team can have pitchers will pitches left for big games.

“If we hold a guy under 30 pitches he can come back and pitch, leaving us with all of our options available,” Leaird says.

Among those on the roster who can pitch for Central include Sophomore Ron Benjamin, Sophomore Landon Hicks, eighth grader Daniel Leaird, Junior Buddy Faile, Sophomore Will Atkinson, Sophomore Grant Mullis, Junior Trent Neuberth, and Junior Jamie Parks.

Leaird added that a couple of things have impressed him with his team’s play so far.

“We have hit the ball pretty well throughout the line up,” he says. “We put the ball in play. For example, against Chesterfield our number nine hitter Brice Oliver was three for three. I have been proud of that offensively.

“Defensively, behind our pitching, we have been solid all year. The only time we weren’t is when we made six errors against Buford. Had we played good defense in that game we would have probably won it.”

He added that Central has had several other game that the Eagles went the entire game without an error.

 “Being early, there’s optimism for us to swing the bat and play good defense,” Leaird says. “As long as we do that we can be pretty competitive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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