“Some of these younger guys are going to have to step up this year,” Sholar said. “We’ll be a young bunch, but we’ve been practicing hard. It’s going to be a fun year. We may not have the most talent, but we’ll have the most heart.”
With Bailey out, Trigg is left with three seniors, only one of which – Hunter Smillie – has a great deal of varsity experience. He’ll start in left field when he’s not pitching, and Cameron Sumner and Andre Wright will see action in the infield.
The only other returning ‘Cats with varsity experience are R.J. Sholar, Alex Sadler and Jared Stallons. They’ll lead a charge that looks to replace big numbers lost with the graduation of Donald Bush, Will Stagner and Shane Banks.
“The numbers are not what we’ve been having, but the team we’ve got is pretty solid,” coach Sholar said.
The pitching rotation will start with Smillie, and R.J. Sholar, who will move from third base to shortstop, will be the No. 2 hurler. Sadler, Stallons and sophomores Zack Bridges and Hunter Allen will also see time on the mound. Allen is set to be the starting catcher.
R.J. Sholar and Sadler return a solid middle infield, with Bridges at third and Wright at first. When Smillie is in left, Stallons will roam center and Ryan Russell will take right field.
“[Russell] has probably worked harder than anybody we’ve got,” coach Sholar said.
Sophomore Cody Carrico will be used as a utility man, filling in at several positions when other players are needed on the mound. Freshman David Wease can fill that role as well, Sholar said.
“We’ve got guys that can play different positions,” Sholar said.
Sholar said he expects Crittenden County to be the favorite to repeat as 5th District Champions a season after the Rockets notched a comeback 7-5 win over the Wildcats in the district final. Trigg’s 2009 season ended in the next game, a 7-3 loss to Henderson County in the 2nd Region Tournament. Trigg finished the year with a record of 18-15 (6-1 in district play).
For Trigg to be a threat in the district and region, Sholar said the younger players will need to get used to the varsity game quickly.
“A lot of these guys haven’t seen varsity pitching,” Sholar said. “They’ve been competitive in practice, and none of them like to lose. They’re not going to quit.”
Sholar said he’s also excited about this year’s middle school team, which is coached by Mark Butts.
“I started the middle school program five years ago, and it’s grown every year,” Sholar said.
The Midcats play in a league out of Clarksville, which Butts said will be a positive.
“Jackie is playing top competition at the high school level, and that’s what we want to do with the middle schoolers,” Butts said. “I want to keep the program building so it can strengthen the high school team.”