Baseball Preview: Senath-Hornersville looks to develop youth, depend on seniors
The Senath-Hornersville Lions baseball program enters the 2017 fall season looking to continue its recent success with a slew of new faces.
The Lions graduated five starters, including four who signed to play college baseball, off of last season’s spring squad the went 13-11-1.
“It’s both an interesting and exciting time because there are so many new faces,” Senath-Hornersville baseball coach Corbin Clark said. “It’s also a scary time for any coach when you have as many young players as we have. We know there are going to be growing pains, but I can say with confidence we will be a lot better by the end of the spring than we are right now, which is exciting to think about.
“I think there are a lot of schools in our district that feel the same way,” Clark added. “When you look at our district I can’t pick a favorite, and I think that’s been pretty easy to do the last couple years. This year I think we are all in the same boat, and that’s an exciting thing.”
Returning starters on the 2017 fall squad are seniors Lathan Brooks and Austin Brock, junior Fernando Meza, and sophomore Jordan Coronado.
Clark anticipates Brooks and Brock to anchor the pitching staff.
“I feel like since I’ve been here pitching has been our strength,” Clark said. “We always go through stretches where we struggle to score runs. But we’ve had consistent pitching the past couple years and I think this year will be no different. I think Austin Brock and Lathan Books both have electric stuff. It’s just a matter of finding the consistency to give us a senior-like performance once-a-week every week.”
One concern Clark does have is how his young squad - composed of two seniors, one junior, three sophomores and seven freshmen - will adapt to high school pitching.
“We are losing a ton of production and replacing it with a great deal of youth, which is always a concern offensively,” he said. “One positive I do see this year is I think this team is more athletic. We have more guys who can run than we did last year. If we can find a way to get the bat on the ball, or just get on base, I think we can do some things on the bases we couldn’t do last year. But there is no doubt we are going to be missing some of the middle of the order hitters we graduated.”
Two incoming freshmen Clark feels could make immediate contributions are Holden Coronado and Parker Rhew.
“We are seeing some good things out of several of the freshmen already,” Clark said. “Parker Rhew is a young left-hander that should be able to step up and throw some innings for us and play an outfield spot. Holden Coronado also swings a pretty good bat for his age and can probably help our offense. We are excited about those two freshmen and the rest will be pressing for at-bats as well because of our youth.”
The Lions also face the daunting task of breaking in a new catcher.
“Two years ago we had an all-conference catcher in Cesar Moncada and last year Clay Johnson caught almost every inning for us,” Clark said. “This year we will be breaking in someone brand new. Priority No. 1 is figuring out that up-the-middle combination starting with our catcher. Fernando Meza and Jordan Coronado are kids we’ve looked at behind the plate. One of those two will probably end up back there to start the season.”
Senath-Hornersville plays all regular season games in the fall. The Lions open its season Aug. 21 at Naylor. Its home opener is Aug. 23 against Clarkton.
“We are going to go as far as our seniors can take us this year,” Clark said. “I feel like they both have a lot of talent and can really put us on their back because of some of the things they can do. They know we are going to need them to lead us with all the youth we have.”