Sheridan Yellowjackets: Revamped Yellowjackets seek return flight to postseason

By James K. Joslin Published March 17, 2013 at 6:00 a.m.
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Mike Moore has been coaching baseball for 27 years. His Sheridan Yellowjackets tallied a 26-7 mark in 2012 but lost to El Dorado in the finals of the 6A state tournament. Instead of losing their fighting attitude, however, the Yellowjackets are buzzing about the possibilities for 2013. Sheridan will, though, have to overcome the graduation of many starters.

“We lost several off the team,” coach Moore said, then listed the catcher, first baseman, shortstop, third baseman, all of the outfielders and the top two pitchers. “We lost some really good players.”

Now, the Yellowjackets will turn to eight seniors who were playing in the shadows of the now departed.

“They are hungry to prove they can play, too,” Moore said. “They have worked hard. The strength of our seniors, of our pitching — the top three are seniors — will make us competitive and give us a chance to win.”

Otherwise, Moore said, he’ll rely on four sophomores and a couple of freshmen to log playing time, along with the squad’s three juniors.

“We’re inexperienced, but we’ll be solid on defense and on the mound. I think we’ll get better all season long. I want us to improve to the end. Then we’ll be a team others won’t want to play. Look for us to be in the mix at the end of the season as our young players grow up and we catch up with the speed of the game.”

STRENGTHS: Pitching provided by four seniors — Ryan Taylor, Keaton Ramsey, Garrett Williams and Wyatt Daggett. “While they are inexperienced in varsity play, they have thrown very well this spring,” coach Moore said. Otherwise, the coach noted a strong defense, particularly with athletic personnel in the infield. They include Paul Lucas, Tayler Raney and Reese Lisenby up the middle and Daggett, Taylor and John Strange at the corners. Behind the plate, sophomores Tadd Daggett and Evan Thompson should be solid. Hunter Strong, Chase Davis and Williams will work the outfield.

WEAKNESS: Inexperience. A senior-dominated team from a year ago has only one true returning starter. “We have very good players, but they are young and inexperienced.” That means, Moore said, the team will have to “scratch and claw” to manufacture runs. While the defense will be improved, the offense will need some work.

BEST HITTERS FOR AVERAGE: Tyler Raney, Hunter Strong, Tadd Daggett and Chase Davis.

BEST POWER HITTERS: While the team doesn’t have a lot of “power threat,” the coach listed Wyatt Daggett, Ryan Taylor and John Strange as the top players in this category.

BEST SPEED: Chase Davis and Garrett Williams. Both players have already signed with Williams Baptist College.

BEST FIELDERS: Tyler Raney, Paul Lucas and Reese Lisenby on the infield and Chase Davis and Hunter Strong in the outfield.

BEST ARM: Wyatt Daggett at pitcher, first base and third base.

Zoned Editions Editor James K. Joslin can be reached at 501-399-3693 or jjoslin@arkansasonline.com.

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