Mohawks Begin Spring Sports Season

Thursday, March 13, 2014
Members of the Mohawk baseball team for 2014 include, from left: Front-Manager John Jones. Center-Trace Stallings, Alex Treat, Sam Jones, Tyler Peters, Austin Murray, Andrew Roberts, Jordan Blascoe, Brice Howard and Celeston Haywood. Back-Noah May, Jeff Meuir, Mason Rahn, Seth Lacey, Bret Fuller, Will Jett and Garrett Cook. Not pictured are Teddy Gregory and Nick McKinnie. The members of the Tribe are wearing their new practice jerseys, donated to the team by Piggott State Bank. (courtesy photo)

Since weather conditions have improved greatly in the past week, both the Mohawk softball and baseball teams began their spring season Tuesday, March 11. Both squads had already postponed two games due to winter storm Titan, and were eager to get into action.

In a game not on the original schedule, the Lady Mohawks took on non-conference Greene County Tech in a 5-inning practice contest at Rotary Park in Paragould. The schedule had originally called for a home game with Rivercrest, but field conditions at Independence Park forced that game to be postponed. The Lady Golden Eagles came out on top 11-7, but the contest did afford the Piggott girls game experience. The girls are scheduled to be on the road Thursday, March 13 for a doubleheader at Harrisburg. Next Tuesday, March 18 they hope to open the home schedule with a conference game with Manila at the ballpark in Piggott.

Meanwhile, the Piggott Mohawk baseball team kicked-off their 2014 campaign with a road win at Hoxie. The Mohawks jumped out early on the hosting Mustangs and cruised to a 7-3 conference win to begin the season.

The Tribe, coming off their fourth state tournament appearance in the past six seasons, is fielding a young squad this spring and as a result are taking a different approach in preparation.

"We've shifted our focus this spring and are getting back to the basics of baseball," noted Coach Shawn Hearn. "We're doing more on position break-down, situational ball and getting back to the details of the game--it's much more about the team concept this season."

With only one regular starter returning from last year's squad, Hearn and assistant coach Alan Rabjohn will be looking to a core group of players with ample game experience to provide senior leadership.

"I've been very pleased with my seniors this year, they've really stepped up and taken a leadership role with the younger kids," Hearn noted. "That was especially important during our open gym sessions."

This year's group of seniors includes returning short stop and pitcher Austin Murray along with Mason Rahn, Andrew Roberts, Will Jett, Jeff Muier and Teddy Gregory. Juniors on the squad include Nick McKinnie, Garrett Cook and Sam Jones; the underclassmen include Jordan Blascoe, Tyler Peters, Trace Stallings, Noah May, Seth Lacy, Celeston Haywood, Brice Howard, Alec Treat and Bret Fuller. Serving as manager this year for the squad is John Jones.

To return to the regional tournament, something the Mohawks have done four of the last five seasons, the Tribe will face some stiff competition in 3A-3.

"Harrisburg went on a 12 game winning streak late and returns a lot of those good sophomores," Hearn noted. "Corning got a lot of their kids back and Manila has as new coach and had a strong class of freshmen and sophomores last season-but, we'll just have to wait and see how things work out."

But, so far this spring the biggest enemy of baseball and softball coaches across the region is the weather. "We have been so fortunate to have the old gym to work-out in," Hearn added. "With the batting cage and two mounds we can get work in when a lot of teams can't and it has helped us out."

Due to the weather the first two games of the season set for last week were postponed, and Tuesday's home game with the Mustangs was moved to Hoxie. Poor field conditions at Independence Park have also forced a change to the doubleheader scheduled for this Thursday, March 13 with Osceola. Instead, the Tribe will travel to Mississippi County and make-up last week's game against Blytheville, Hearn's alma mater.

With the uncertainty of spring weather to contend with Hearn notes he'll try to keep fans informed of changes. "We will be posting any changes to the Mohawk Bullpen Club facebook page," Hearn noted. Updates may also be found here on CCtimesdemocrat.com

The Mohawks are slated to begin the home portion of their campaign next Tuesday, March 18 as they host Harrisburg. Then, on Monday, March 24 they're slated to visit Rivercrest with a 2 p.m. start time.

The final week of March was set-aside for spring break, but some make-up games may be played if the weather cooperates.

The next regular season game is Tuesday, April 1 as the Mohawks visit Harrisburg. And, the weekend of April 3 to 5 the Tribe will take part in the Duel on the Diamond at Paragould. Included in the action at Paragould during the tournament is a regular season game against Corning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 3.

On Monday, April 7 the Mohawks will host Manila, and the next day the Corning Bobcats will visit Piggott. Then, on Thursday, April 10 the Blytheville Chicks will come to town for a non-conference set.

The conference schedule continues Tuesday, April 15 with a home game against the Rivercrest Colts and on Thursday, April 17 the Tribe will visit Manila.

Non-conference EPC will visit Independence Park on Tuesday, April 22 and the Mohawks will wrap up 3A-3 conference play on Thursday April 24 against Hoxie at home.

The regular season finale will be played Tuesday, April 29 as the Mohawks host the Pocahontas Redskins. That weekend, May 1 to 3, the district tournament will be played at Rivercrest.

"I would like to take a moment and thank the community for all their support," Hearn surmised. "We appreciate the support we had for our gun raffle, the night we worked at McDonalds and all the support we have received. I'd also like to offer a word of thanks to Piggott State Bank for the new practice jerseys they donated to the team and all they do for us. We feel the community has really gotten behind the Mohawk baseball team and it is appreciated."

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