EMCC boasts revamped lineup and field for 2001 season
By By Austin Bishop/Special To The Star
FEB. 13, 2001
SCOOBA There will be a lot of new faces on the field when East Mississippi Community College opens the 2001 season at home on Saturday afternoon, but the newest look may belong to Gerald Poole Field.
For years one of the most prominent features of the field has been its short fence in right and right-center.
In years past routine fly balls turned out to be homers at Poole Field.
The fence in right was pushed back from 302 feet to 325, while right-center went from 335 to 365.
Most of the familiar faces on the EMCC team this year will be on the pitching staff.
Only two position players who played regularly last season are back for the Lions.
Sophomore Jaron Andrews returns behind the plate, while Chris Ball will be back at his spot at third base.
Among the players from last year who won't be returning is slugger Brad Montgomery, who is now playing first base for the University of Southern Mississippi.
Backing up Andrews behind the plate will be Josh Perry of Pearl, while left-handed hitting Josh Buckley of New Hope will get the nod at first base. Buckley hit .267 with two homers and 15 RBIs as a part-timer last season. He will be backed up by Ben Mason of Harrison Central High School.
Second base will be shared by Heritage Academy's Todd Harcrow and Ashley Chism of New Hope. The shortstop will be Tyler Lowros of Brookwood High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Backing up Ball at third will be West Lauderdale's J.D. Harbour. Another player who will see action throughout the infield is Kenneth Morrison. "He can play any of the infield positions and will give us a lot of depth," Baldner said.
The right fielder will be Derian Dotson of Louisville High School. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander will also be the closer for EMCC.
Slated to start in center is Brandon Barrett of New Life School in Montgomery, Ala. The left-handed hitter is also blessed with good speed.
Trey Wall, who bats left-handed, and Ben Earnest are battling for time in left.
Likely getting the starts in Saturday's home doubleheader against LSU-Eunice will be sophomores Jay Blackburn and Steve Oglesby.
Blackburn finished the year at 3-4 with a 5.09 ERA in 56 innings pitched.
The Lions were 23-27 overall last season and 12-12 in conference play.
Oglesby, a sophomore from New Hope, has a big curveball and got off to a hot start for the Lions last season. The 5-foot-9, 160-pounder ended the season with a 4-5 record and a 6.00 ERA in 60 innings of work.
Kevin Long, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound sophomore from New Hope was 2-1 in just 17 innings last year.
Central Academy's Bill Cotton is also expected to see a lot of time on the mound for the Lions. Ben Carver, who was 4-3 last year in 38 innings, will see action as a starter and reliever.
Baldner said Carver would also see some action behind the plate.
Others who will see time on the mound are Wall and Buckley both left-handers as well as Harbour, Cory Gill and Johnathan Allgood.
After the Lions play LSU-Eunice in doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, EMCC gets ready for the Rush Invitational at Meridian Community College the following weekend.
The four-team, three-day round-robin event features EMCC, MCC, East Central and Jones.