By Tim Chambers
Stability at the baseball coaching ranks has never been an issue for Johnson County Middle School. Head coach Julian Crews begins his 18th season at the helm with only two eighth graders and a ton of talented seventh graders.
“Most of our seventh graders have played together up through the Little League level,” said Crews. “We also have probably the top eighth grade player in the league. We only have two eighth graders on the varsity roster but I feel like we can compete. Our goal is to get better game to game and week to week. I can see these kids doing that.”
Leading the way is pitcher/shortstop Stacy Greer.
“He’s our captain and leader,” added Crews. “He has all the makings to be an outstanding high school player. I guess you could say he’s our key cog. He plays two prominent positions and hits in the middle of our lineup. Stacy leads by example. You couldn’t coach a better kid.”
Ethan Icenhour, Seth Conder and Zack Parsons will handle the catching duties. The trio will see duty on the mound in addition to Greer and Asa Lewis.
“We’ve got several kids that can play multiple positions,” said Crews. “We’ve have several kids that can pitch and you need that with the new pitch count rule.”
The 12 player roster will find Mason Bragg at second base with help from Conder and Nate Rice. Greer is slated to play shortstop when not pitching as is Conder. Parsons, Rice and Trey Snyder will all battle for the third base spot with Conder, Greer and Lewis all vying for time at first.
“It really depends on who’s pitching as to who plays where,” added Crews. “That’s why it’s so important to have kids that can play different spots. These kids care about winning and all of them want to be on the field. It’s a good thing to have as a coach.”
Preston Greer, Rice and Joshua Austin appear to have a solid hold on the three outfield slots. Isaac Roark and Dalton Brown are a two more talented players that makeup the “fountain of youth.”
“These kids are all coachable,” said Crews. I like their willingness to get better and their athleticism. We’re young but our goal is to compete this year. We defiantly will contend next season.”
Crews tabbed Hampton and University School as the two teams to beat in the conference.