Jeff Embrey’s second season as Wildcat head coach sees only four starters returning from last year’s 6-19 team that lost to Livingston Central in the Fifth District semifinals.
But Trigg has a solid nucleus of sophomores and juniors that saw considerable time last year, which Embrey thinks will help the Wildcats surpass last year’s win total.
"We should be pretty solid now that they young guys have gotten a year under their belts," he said. "We want to build on what we did last year instead of taking a step back."
The Wildcats return three infielders among their four returnees, but must replace most of the pitching staff and catchers.
Sophomore third baseman Kyle Allen batted .381 last year with eight RBI and will be joined in the infield by junior first baseman Jordan McNichols (.349, 1 HR, 6 RBI), and sophomore shortstop John David Fourqurean, who hit .212 last year in spot duty.
Senior Corey Greenman (.171, 2 RBI) is the lone returning outfielder for the Wildcats, with sophomore Ryan Eubanks (.193, 4 RBI) splitting time between the outfield and second base. Devon Morris will also start the season in the outfield, according to Embrey.
Junior Corey Harrison returns to the mound after posting a 5.76 ERA last year in 17 innings. He struck out 11 and walked 13.
Senior Jacob Wadlington returns after taking last year off. He pitched six innings in 2003, posting a 2.10 ERA and striking out seven.
When they’re not pitching, Harrison will split time in the outfield, and Wadlington will play shortstop.
"We’re got a pretty good 1-2 combination with them, and we’ve got a good group of young arms that can fill in," Embrey said.
Taylor Lowary (0-1, 3.82 ERA), Lucas Riddle (7.00 ERA), Fourqurean, and Allen will also see some time in the rotation, according to Embrey.
Riddle will also start the season behind the plate.
"Catching will be a key position for us this year. We need someone who can throw some runners out and be consistent behind the plate," Embrey said.
Perhaps the biggest key for Trigg County in 2005 will be defense.
Last year, the Wildcats committed 74 errors that led to 69 unearned runs for the pitching staff.
"We struggled with defense last year, and it killed us at some critical times. Everyone has a year at their positions, and our defense should be much improved," the coach said.
Embrey is hoping the young players mature during the season and produce the program’s first winning record since 2002.
The Wildcats moved to the Fifth District two years ago but have not won a game in the district tournament. Trigg’s last appearance in the region tournament came in 2001.
"Livingston is pretty good and has to be considered the favorite since they won it last year. Caldwell has some good people back, and we’re part of the next group bunched together," Embrey said.
Trigg County opened the season Monday against Fort Campbell.
They will play Saturday in the McCracken County Wooden Bat Tournament.
The Wildcats don’t play another home game until April 19 against Providence at the Complex.