White Knoll baseball is under new coach Charles Assey Jr., who takes over for Brooks Shoemaker who spent two seasons at the Timberwolves helm. Assey, who is the son of former longtime Midlands coach Charlie Assey, takes over after one season at Brookland-Cayce.
White Knoll is coming off a disappointing season. The T-Wolves finished 9-14 overall and missed the state playoff cut for the first time in program history.
The 2014 club will build around returning starters Eddie Prestigiacomo, Chase Huffstetler, Calev Grubbs, Brandon Dickerson and Austin Bush.
Prestigiacomo was 3-4 with a 3.59 ERA as the staff ace last season. The junior right-hander is the only established varsity starter. Shane Wallace, Bryan Sandifer and newcomer Caleb Ogden are the other rotation candidates. Wallace and Sandifer were regulars out of the bullpen last season.
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“Our pitching will not be over powering, but we have some guys that will throw strikes and compete,” said Assey.
Offensively, WK is a questionable. Huffstettler and Grubbs return at third base and shortstop, respectively, but only Huffstetler had good production in 2012 (.312, 18 runs). Brandon Dickerson and outfielders Mac McCurdy and Austin Bush are the other returning regulars. Dickerson will shift to the right side of the infield after being used primarily at catcher a year ago.
“We do not return a ton of hitting,” said Assey. “We hope to find ways to get guys on base, play some run-and-gun small ball and manufacture one more run than the other team.”
The Timberwolves open the season at their own Red Bank Invitational preseason tournament, March 6-9. WK faces Mauldin in the first round.