Gilbert moves up the Class 3A this spring, but the goals remain the same. Ashley Burnett’s Indians are out to win a region championship and contend for a state title. Same as it ever was.
The Tribe closed out its 2A stay with a 30-2 record and a state championship last season. Gilbert won its final 16 games including a 8-0 postseason run to secure its third title since 2006.
Burnett’s team took a significant graduation hit, but the Indians never talk about rebuilding.
“We should be pretty good defensively,” said Burnett. “Pitching and defense will be the strength of the team until the offense improves.”
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Seniors Taylor Leaphart (OF) and Drew Moyer (P) and juniors Mitch Spires (3B) and Jared Williams (SS) are the returning foundation players. Ll four were voted all-region a year ago and all but Leaphart also earned spots on the all-state team. Moyers has signed at Clemson, Williams is committed to South Carolina and Spires will continue his playing career at Winthrop.
Sophomores Ryan Knowles (2B) and Jaylin Jennings (OF) are newcomers in the field to watch.
Moyer anchors a pitching staff that also features juniors Trever Frederickson and Seth Kuntz.
Gilbert opened the season with a 3-1 showing at the Comporium preseason tournament, and will open the regular campaign on Thursday at South Aiken. The Indians host Waccamaw and Aynor on Saturday and make their Region 5-3A debut on March 12 at Midland Valley.