High School Sports

March 7, 2014

Preview: Camden baseball

Bulldogs enter new season with high hopes.

Camden enters the 2014 season with enviable pitching depth, experience in the field and high expectations of challenging A.C. Flora and Chapin for the top spots in rugged Region 4-3A.

“This is one of the most talented teams we’ve ever had,” said Bulldogs coach Denny Beckley. “If we keep improving and have the right mental approach, this team has a chance to be very interesting.”

The strength of the team is a deep pitching staff with three solid starters in the forefront – senior left-hander Grey Hoke, sophomore right-hander Will Abbott and junior lefty Ross Hough who returns after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. Hoke (2-4, 2.94 ERA) was an all-region pick last season. Abbott was 4-1 with a sparkling 1.94 ERA in 36.2 inning of work.

On the field, all-region catcher Nick Tucker (.308, 11 RBI), first baseman Lawrence Stokes (.385, 16 RBI), and shortstop Cole Irick (.324, 25 runs, 16 steals) are the foundation players.

Senior utility man Bennett Harrelson (.343) is back, as is outfielder Darius Smith after missing all of 2013 with shoulder woes. Harrelson and Abbott are slated to split time at third base.

Elsewhere, Hough will see time in the outfield, Zach Boykin is the starter left field and Tyler Jordan is the new second baseman.

Camden finished 15-10 last season, and went 5-5 (fourth place) in the region.

The Bulldogs won’t waste time seeing where they stand with a regular season/region opener at A.C. Flora on March 14.

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