The 2017 Sun Chief Baseball season is shaping up to be a good one. While it can be tough to compete at this level with freshmen, Head Baseball Coach Wayne Larker says we will start five sophomore-position players and half of the team's pitchers are sophomores.
Coach Larker notes that pitching is the key to any teams' success. "Most of our sophomore pitchers are inexperienced and only time will tell. Our incoming freshmen pitchers will come out of the bullpen and try to get us to the end of game. At the end we have sophomore right-hander Chase Lambert to close the game."
Another important factor is a balanced line-up. While the freshmen in the outfield and at shortstop are expected to supply the team with speed, it's the sophomores at the corners that will supply the power. According to Coach Larker, "Power is the least available attribute at the junior college level. A few doubles in the line-up will help."
The Sun Chief's defense will be critical this year and has seen major improvements. The outfield and middle of the infield have much more speed and range this season. While the team took a hit by losing catcher Austin Jones, experience behind the catcher's mask is improving as Walker Watts and RJ Gibson gain playing time in the preseason.
According to Coach Larker, pitching is even part of the team's defense. "The ability of the pitchers to command the strike zone will reflect our success," Coach Larker said.
"The Southern Division of the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) is always competitive with some of the best teams in the country coming from the ACCC," Coach Larker said. "The 2017 schedule, as always, is a tough one to play."
Chattahoochee Valley has been a nationally ranked top 5 team for the last five seasons. Coach Larker is looking to be a team to take seriously in the ACCC Tournament in May.
He says, "It's not how you start but always how you finish."