Kingstree baseball being overhauled in 2017
By C.R. Cumbee
Kingstree—Garrett Howard spent the past 15 years at Carvers Bay and Pendleton High, but may have the most challenging job of his career trying to resurrect the Kingstree baseball program.
The Jaguars are already making positive strides in the first year. They went 3-1 during the preseason, but are currently 3-4 overall and 1-4 in region play in the regular season.
“The whole point of this year is to build a program that will stay established at this school. Of course we’re looking for wins, but the main point is to establish a program that plays baseball the right way,” Howard said.
Kingstree only has two seniors on a roster that features tons of youth. Unfortunately, those players are forced to play varsity until a jayvee squad can be formed next spring. Howard has had to focus on the basics and make this year a learning process for the future.
“We have come together as a team. We’ve gotten rid of all the riff-raff. We have a set schedule and we adhere to that. We’re disciplined and have rules. We’re learning the fundamentals of baseball. Some of these kids have never played baseball in their lives,” Howard said.
Junior Quinton Alston and freshman Savion McClary have handled most of the pitching duties this season, with Alston going 2-2 on the mound. McClary is 0-1 but has a 3.89 earned run average. Lavonte Staggers is 1-0 with a 3.11 ERA.
“He’s going to be absolutely phenomenal,” Howard said of McClary. “He’s got a little bit of speed, but that will come since he’s only a ninth-grader. He works the corners so well and has a lot of junk pitches that he works in. He concentrates on adjusting to the batter. He’s very mature for his age and that’s going to pay dividends by the time he’s a senior.”
Staggers (.389 average, 2 HR), Alston (.344, 2 HR), Antwon Chandler (.500, 3 triples, 13 stolen bases) and B.J. Henderson (.273) have been the most consistent hitters, but the Jaguars need more consistency from the rest of the lineup.
Other players seeing action include Treyvon Elmore, Deangelo Cooper, David Laurie, John Battiste, Malcolm Brockington, Jamal Salters, Ormondo Graham, Tremaine Brice and Brian Nixon. Trevor Hampton, Generio Jones and Jalen McGill are also on the roster.