The Pelion baseball team put together another good season in 2009, perhaps a better one than many may have anticipated. The Panthers closed with an 18-8 record, finished in second place in its first year in Region 5-2A and advanced to the District VIII finals before being eliminated in the state playoffs by Marion.
“Our team really exceeded many expectations,” said coach Barry Fogle. “We had contributions from different players at many key moments in games. We had solid pitching and defense. We were scrappy on offense and found a way to score runs.”
Wesley Camp, Ken Smoak, Taylor Jackson and Brage Huffman were the Panthers’ all-region pick this season. Camp, who was named the team MVP this season, hit .429 with 43 runs, 15 RBIs and 32 steals, and was the ace of the pitching staff – 8-3 record, one save, 2.74 ERA, 72 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. Smoak also pulled a heavy load this season. He hit .410 with 29 runs, a team high 26 RBIs and 11 steals, and was 3-2 with one save, a 3.73 ERA and 62 whiffs in 45 innings of work on the hill. Jackson batted .356 with 15 runs and 18 RBIs. Huffman had 14 RBIs.
The Panther bid farewell to three senior starters – Jackson, Justin Shumpert (.288, 17 runs) and Gary Martin (.276, 18 runs).
Camp, Smoak, Huffman, Cody Kyzer (.302, 16 runs, 15 RBIs), Matthew Kumangai (.258, 10 runs, 7 RBIs in 31 at bats) and Chris Dillow (.279, 14 runs, 16 RBIs) are the returning starters expected to lead the way in 2010.
“We have the bulk of our squad coming back, but to improve we'll have to work hard in the weight room during the off-season to get bigger and stronger,” said Fogle. “There is enough returning to have a good season. We'll definitely have to improve offensively and increase pitching depth.”