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EMCC Lions geared up for 2002 baseball season

By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
Feb. 13, 2002
SCOOBA Following a rough 2001 season, the East Mississippi Community College Lions are looking for brighter things in 2002.
Veteran head coach Bill Baldner hopes that a talented freshmen class can help erase the bad memories of last season which saw the Lions finish 10-32.
Bad defense was a primary culprit to the Lions' woes last season. It's the area that saw the biggest overhaul as just two players return to starting positions.
The key addition to the Lions will be freshman shortstop Matt Minchew of Meridian. Minchew, a Clarkdale graduate, along with three other Lion signees helped Meridian win the Dixie Senior Majors World Series last August in North Charleston, S.C.
Snider played at West Lauderdale, helping the Knights win the State Class 3A title last year. He will open the 2002 season as a starting left fielder for the Lions.
Vaughn is a recent addition after playing two seasons of football for the Lions. Lewis played at Southeast Lauderdale while Chase Spencer was a catcher for Northeast Lauderdale.
Clay will be counted on to be the Lion closer this season. Spencer should see time at either catcher or designated hitter.
The two lone starters back are second baseman Ashley Chism at second base and third baseman J.D. Harbour. Harbour, also from West Lauderdale, was an honorable mention All-State pick. He batted .298.
Sophomore Chad Carlson of Springdale, Ark., will open at catcher with Josh Perry backing him up when he is not the DH.
Ben Mason will start at first. Whitaker, who played at Kemper Academy, will be in center field while Todd Harcrow will be in left.
The Lions have just one starter back on the mound and that is sophomore Bill Cotton.
The Lions could get a lift from freshmen pitchers Lee Boyd and Clint Richards who come out of the highly-regarded New Hope High School program.
East's season opens on Thursday with a home doubleheader against defending Region 23 champion Gulf Coast in Scooba. On Feb. 22, the Lions visit Meridian and then will play in the Rush Classic in Meridian on Feb. 23-24.