Hard work pays off for MHS
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT – Coach Vince McLemore helps John Iverson with his pitching during Thursday's practice. Photo by Carisa Mccain/ The Meridian Star
By Ryan Satcher / staff writer
April 12, 2002
Good pitching and solid hitting up and down the lineup always seems to win baseball games.
The Wildcats of Meridian High are no exception. After a slow start to the season, they have used pitching and consistent hitting to win their last 19 out of 20 games and build a 25-5 record on the season. The Wildcats have also already clinched the division championship with a 5-0 record.
In one stretch early in the season Meridian was unable to practice on the field for about seven or eight days and the missed practice hurt. Finally the weather cleared up and the Wildcats got hot.
The pitching staff for Meridian has been another key to success. The Wildcat staff doesn't always throw the hardest, but they rely on the little things. The pitchers focus on things such as locating fastballs and getting breaking balls over for strikes. Avoiding walks has also helped keep their earned run average down.
Jason Spinks leads the staff with a 1.20 ERA in 50 innings pitched. He is 6-0 on the season and leads the team with 67 strikeouts and has allowed only 31 walks.
Torry Bates is right behind Spinks with a great 1.41 ERA. He is 6-1 on the year and has 32 strikeouts and 18 walks. John Iverson has a 2.27 and is 4-2 on the year even after battling with a shoulder injury. He does have 44 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched.
The Wildcats have also won with the bats. The bats have got hot in the warming weather. Meridian is at the top of the state 5A in doubles and triples. Everyone in the lineup has been hitting over .300 for the year. The Wildcats have also had a few hitters over .400 on the season. Richmond Alexander has been over .400 in the lead-off spot. Bates has been over .400 and killing the ball. He has hit 7 homers on the season and 40 RBIs from the cleanup spot in the lineup. John Stevens has also hit over .400 in the third spot. He has 28 RBIs and 10 doubles to go along with six home runs and has only struck out five times all year in 96 at bats.
The Wildcats have played a tough schedule to help improve throughout the season.
Finally, no team would be complete without good coaches. The coaching staff has also been a big factor in the success. Assistant coaches Shay Cooper and Curtis Grace added to the coaching of McLemore seems to be a recipe for success.