RONDA — Senior starting pitchers Zach Crabb and Zach West will be counted on once again to keep East Wilkes’ opponents off the scoreboard.
“My starting pitching has been pretty good the past couple of years,” East Wilkes Coach Todd Welborn said Monday. Crabb and West are the top two, Welborn said, with junior Jake McCoy expected to take to the hill as well.
“They’re not going to throw it by you,” Welborn said, “but they change speeds and hit spots.
The Cardinals lost five one-run conference games a year ago: four 3-2 losses and one 6-5 loss. “If we could have found a way to win those ballgames,” Welborn said, “we could have won 12 games.”
Welborn said his team “struggled last year hitting the ball.” After two runs in two losses to start this season, he said “right now, we’re scratching our heads. I don’t think we have the answer.
“We’re looking to hit line drives, but we’re still working on that.”
Welborn knows his team has to limit the mistakes — both the mental and physical errors. “What we try to do is cover the fundamentals,” he said. “We have to make the routine play and maybe have a spectacular play somewhere.
“Offensively, I think it’s a year where we get a man on first and try to move him over. We’re going to have to play base to base.”
This is a veteran ballclub with freshman Andrew Elmore and sophomore Jacob Chipman joining a cast of juniors and seniors.
“I like the kids that I’ve got,” Welborn said. “They work hard. They love playing.”
Weather permitting, the Cardinals host North Surry tonight.
East Wilkes baseball at a glance
Coach: Todd Welborn, 10th year (1993-2000, 2013-)
Conference: Mountain Valley Athletic
Last Year’s Record: 7-16, lost in first round to East Surry
Returnees: Zach Crabb, p-3b-dh, Sr.; Zach West, p-cf, Sr.; Levi Ray, c, Jr.; HN Patten, 2b, Jr.; Chandler Bare, ss, Jr.; Will Jolly, 3b-p, Jr.; Austin Pearson, c, Sr.
Newcomers: Jake McCoy, 1b, Jr.; Seth Longbottom, of, Jr.; Justin Cheek, of, Jr.; Andrew Elmore, cf, Fr.,; Jacob Chipman, lf, So.; Dillon Gray, of, Sr.; Jathan Sales, of, Sr.; Ryan Shelton, of, Sr.