Tiger Baseball Off To Torrid Start For 2008
The Rosman Tigers baseball team might be in a rebuilding year but someone forgot to tell them, as they're off to a hot 4-0 start despite returning just two starters from last year's squad that made it to the third round of the 1-A playoffs.
What they may lack in experience they make up for in positive attitudes, according to first-year head coach Freddie Whitman, who replaces the retiring Kirk Dotson at the helm.
"It's tough to replace that many starters," Whitman said. "But I've coached all of these boys before. I've coached them in middle school. I'm hoping we'll be competitive."
Whitman returns a pair of .300 hitters, son Zach, last year's catcher and Tyler Phillips, a center-fielder and pitcher. The other seven positions are filled with part-time and first-time starters.
Senior Jeremy McCarter will play first base and outfield, backed up by B. Shipman, who will also field the third base position.
Cody Petit, another senior and part-time starter last season, will play left field as well as pitch for the Tigers.
Will Baynard and Nathan Meece, both up from jayvees, will plug the middle at second and short-stop, respectively.
Walker Lipp will play three positions: pitcher, catcher and third base, depending on the line-up and starting pitcher.
Dustin Mullinax will float between the infield and outfield whenever called upon, Whitman said.
Caleb Ashe will also spend time in the Rosman outfield.
"I think some of the younger players will be coming along by the end of the season," Whitman said. They're all good, hard-working kids. They've done everything I've asked them at this point."
The Tigers opened the season against Tamassee Salem with a trio of wins: 14-5 and 14-2. In the second-game victory, Micah Morgan knocked a grand slam and Tyler Phillips also went yard to pace the Tigers.
Mullinax pitched the win in games one and two, while Phillips came on to pitch the second game win. Neither pitcher gave up an earned run in the wins.
"We're just swinging the bat right now," Whitman said. "We haven't faced a lot of big pitching."
The Tigers are also just now getting in a full squad, as many players were out with basketball and wrestling.
Rosman Rips Robbinsville
The Tigers opened Smoky Mountain Conference play with a five-inning rout of Robbinsville Thursday afternoon.
The Tigers took a 3-1 lead in the first and only led 5-4 at the end of two innings, but exploded for four runs in the third, a run in the fourth and a nine-run fifth inning to seal the 19-4 victory.
The Tigers had 13 hits, led by Dustin Mullinax, who went 4-for-5 with three RBIs.
Tyler Phillips and Caleb Ashe each went 2-for-4, with Ashe driving in three runs.
Brent Shipman was 2-for-5 with three RBIs. He also went long for his third home run of the year.
Zach Whitman was 1-for-3, but that was a three-run homer. He drove in four runs on the day.
Derek Owen was 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Mullinax picked up the win, going 3.1 innings and allowing three runs on four hits, while striking out two.
The Tigers travel to Swain on Tuesday for an important SMC match-up.