Batesburg-Leesville entered the 2010 baseball season under new coach Matt Covington with a veteran team and high expectations. The Panthers, however, failed to even make the state playoff cut for the first time in at least 15 years.
And, with eight senior starters leaving the fold, the Panthers face uncertainty in 2011 in a new region that features neighboring Gilbert and Strom Thurmond from old Region 3-2A and Columbia newcomers Columbia, Keenan and Eau Claire.
“We won 14 games, a number some teams would like to have, but we had some high expectations for the season that were not met,” said Covington.
“We did not qualify for the playoffs, missing it by one game, but we had some great wins along the way. We beat Gilbert for the first time in six or seven years, we beat four-time defending SCISA state champion Laurens Academy once and 4A Greenwood twice.
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“We move into a new region in 2011 and I’m looking forward to seeing what the returning eight varsity players can do. We will work hard this summer and fall to be ready to go next February 1st rolls around.”
Brad Addy (.351, 7 RBI, 5 SB) is the only returning player with much 2010 experience on the field,, but Cody Sanders (92 Ks in 59 INN in 2009) and Chris Stewart (2-2, 5.32 ERA) should provide a decent base on the pitching staff.
The departing senior starters include: Andrew Gettys (.286, 11 RBI), Will Berry (10 R, 14 RBI), Jace Grandy (2 HR, 13 RBI; 5-2 on the mound, 2.65 ERA), Scott Price (.500, 21 BB, 26 R, 5 2b, 4 3b, 4 HR; 4-2 record with one save and 48 Ks in 45 IP on the hill), Cooper Gunter (.343, 18 R, 15 RBI, just one 1 error in 165 chances at catcher), Cory Harmon (.325, 18 R), DJ Osby (.375, 15 R, 11 RBI) and Dametrius Robinson (.300, 12 R, 12 RBI)
Berry, Gunter and Harmon are all sign to play Limestone College, Grandy and Osby are going to USC-Salkehatchie and Price is headed to USC-Sumter.