Cougar Baseball Season Preview

Monday, March 7, 2016
The 2016 Rector High School Cougar baseball team includes, from left: Front -- Nic Mesa, Danny Hager, Sam Westbrook, Austin Clairday, Dalton Murray and Zephyer Tinsley. Middle -- Evan Dooley, Colton Lindsey, Hunter Householder, Hadden Parrish, Frank Herrera, Lawson Ford, Case Watson and Hunter McNeely. Back -- Andrew Carter, Jacob Stump, Brian Hufty, Kade Scott, Sam Simmons, Garrett Buck, Kirk Beshears and Conly Lockhart. (TD photo/Jessica Rainwater)

The Rector Cougar baseball team started off the season Monday with a 5-3 win over visiting Corning with double play taking out two Bobcats ending the game.

The Cougars got off to a slow start, with the Bobcats leading 3-0 going into the fifth.

Brian Hufty picked up the first RBI for the Cougars to close it to 3-1.came up to bat and knocked the next ball way out beyond centerfield bringing in Scott for a run; 3-1 Corning.

Garrett Buck then added a couple more RBIs to tie the game. Lawson Ford followed with a hit and he and Buck then came on the score to give the Cougars a 5-3 advantage, which held up for the win.

"I thought we played really well," coach Robert Dorman said. "Took a lot of pitches to get where we needed but we'll be working on that. Buck got a huge hit that really got us going. We only had one mess up and that was a missed pop fly."

Sam Westbrook started out on the mound, pitching 4 1/3 innings; he gave up two hits, one earned run and struck out five. Hunter McNeely took over in the fifth, pitching 2 2/3. He gave up one hit and struck out one.

Hufty was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. Buck was 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI's. Ford, Clairday and Scott all got one hit apiece.

Team Overview

Last year the Cougars finished second in conference and a 6-5 defeat to Tuckerman in the last game of the season. "That left a bitter taste in our mouths; the way last year ended made these boys hungry and I expect to see a lot of competition of this group," Dorman said.

Only three seniors were lost, but a good crop of newcomers should make this season interesting to say the least. "We have the eighth graders who moved up and a few who didn't play last year (Kade Scott and Case Watson) who should help us out," Dorman said. Five freshmen joined the team -- Evan Dooley, Hadden Parrish, Colton Lindsey, Conly Lockhart and Andrew Carter.

Coach Dorman said the number one starter on the mound is Sam Westbrook; Hufty and Buck will also be seen on the mound. Joining him as anticipated starters are Brian Hufty and Garrett Buck as catchers, Kade Scott as first baseman, second baseman Austin Clairday, shortstop Lawson Ford, third basemen Garrett Buck or Sam Westbrook, center fielder Danny Hager. Austin Clairday, Sam Simmons and Case Watson will also see action as designated hitters and in the outfield.

Other members of the team are Hunter Householder, Zephyer Tinsley, Colton Lindsey and Dalton Murray.

"We're still competing for positions at this point," Dorman said. "Other possible pitchers are Hunter McNeely, Lawson Ford, Sam Simmons, Brian Hufty, Case Watson and Nic Mesa."

"The boys have been working hard since November and have spent a long time waiting for this day, so I hope we have a great turnout and a lot of support, because these boys have worked to deserve it," Dorman said.

Here is the schedule:

March 4 -- at Sloan Hendrix, 4.

March 8 -- Cross County, 4:30.

March 10 -- at Marmaduke, 3:30.

March 15 -- Marked Tree, 5.

March 17 -- at Ridgefield, 4:30.

March 18 -- Piggott, 4.

March 25 -- at Corning, 12.

March 26 -- Senath, 2.

March 28 -- at EPC, 4:30.

March 29 -- at Riverside, 4:30.

March 31 -- at Cross County, 4:30.

April 1 -- Westside, 4:30.

April 4 -- BIC, 4.

April 5 -- Marmaduke, 3:30.

April 7 -- Marked Tree, 4:30.

April 11 -- at Armorel, 4:30.

April 12 -- Maynard, 4.

April 14 -- EPC, 4:30.

April 19 -- at BIC, 5.

April 21 -- Riverside, 4:30.

April 22 -- at Paragould, 4:30.

April 25 -- Sloan Hendrix, 4:30.

April 26 -- Ridgefield, 4.

April 28-30 -- District Tournament at Marked Tree.

The junior high Cougars were scheduled to open their season Tuesday night.

Logan Buck will be coaching the junior team again this season. "It's going to be a pretty decent season," Buck said. "A lot more pitching than last year and we have a good group of guys stepping up into open positions as we lost 5 or 6 last year."

The roster includes John Ford Hendrix, Lane Caspier, Lane Stucks, Levi McHelney, Jerron Bucy, M.J. Stump, Landon McClung, Chris Hufty, Shannon Patterson, Max Ford, Jacob McMillan, Hayden Cooksey, Travis Slaughter, Adam Romine, Fernando Guerra and Wesley Metcalf.

Here is the junior high schedule:

March 7 -- at Bay, 4:30.

March 11 -- Trumann, 5.

March 14 -- Valley View, 5.

March 15 -- at Manila, 5.

March 17 -- Piggott, 5.

March 24 -- EPC, 5.

March 25 -- at Sloan Hendrix, 5.

March 28 -- at Walnut Ridge, 5.

March 29 -- Marmaduke, 5.

April 4 -- Corning, 5.

April 7 -- Harrisburg, 5.

April 8 -- at Pocahontas, 5.

April 11 -- Paragould, 5.

April 12 -- Maynard, 5:30.

April 18 -- Harrisburg, 6.

April 22 -- at Piggott, 5.

April 26 -- at Trumann, 5.

April 28 -- Bay, 5.

May 2 -- Manila, 5.

May 5 -- at Valley View, 5.

May 9 -- at EPC, 5.

The Lady Cougars will open softball season Tuesday, March 8, at home in competition with Cross County.

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