He's had district champions, regional champions, and even a state champion. But Menchville coach Phil Forbes doesn't remember having a group of pitchers this deep.
The No. 1 guy, of course, is right-hander Deshorn Lake, who has committed to East Carolina and likely will be an early-round pick in the Major League Baseball draft. No. 2 will be left-hander Evan Forrest, a transfer from Hampton Roads Academy.
Josh Moore and Emory Chopp, lefty Malik Mitchell, and (believe it or not) more.
"In the past, we had a number of people who thought they were pitchers," Forbes said. "This year, we have a number of people who are pitchers. We actually have eight kids we can put in at any time, and only one of them (Lake) is a senior. I've never had that luxury before."
The return of Lake (7-1, 2.13 ERA) alone would have made the Monarchs tough to handle. But the addition of Forrest, who went 6-2 and was an All-Tidewater Conference pick last spring, gives them a nice No. 2. Plus, he's an outstanding hitter who will lead off and play first base when not on the mound.
Offensively, the every-day lineup returns catcher Jeff Gray (.389, 4 HRs, 22 RBI), Moore (.293) at shortstop, outfielder Cameron Tripplett (.417 in 24 at-bats), and All-PD designated hitter Alex Korecky (.368, 24 RBI).
"I don't know how far we'll go, but I'm excited about this group's work ethic and skill," Forbes said. "We have kids who are multi-talented at different positions. I don't know how far we'll end up, but at least it'll be fun."
As for Menchville being the favorite to win what would be its third straight title, Forbes sounds a note of caution.
"Look at what Kecoughtan has coming back," he said. "They'll be tough. Warwick will be competitive. Woodside lost some good hitters but has a lot coming back.
"On any given day, anybody can be beaten. I think it'll be hard for anyone to go undefeated in this district this year.."
1. Menchville (18-5, 15-3 in 2010): The Monarchs averaged 9 runs a game, which sounds prolific enough. But they scored a combined nine runs in their five losses. Even good pitchers needs run support.
2. Warwick (11-8, 11-7). The Raiders lose a big bat in Jason Ellington, but P/1B Brandon Vick, C Ben Delgado and SS Brandon Delk head a group of solid returnees. Warwick always seems to be a contender.
3. Bethel (14-7, 12-6). Dakari Cooke (.331, .405 OBP) might be the district's best returning outfielder. He's signed with West Point. Connor Henderson (8-0) might be the most underrated pitcher coming back.
4. Kecoughtan (8-11, 8-10): The best overall player in the district is P/1B Jake Cave, who hit .573 last year. Darnell Ware will be a solid No. 2, and SS/P Kippy Holbrooks is another solid veteran coming back.
5. Woodside (17-6, 14-4): It's never easy replacing the Player of the Year (3B Terrell Joyce), but the Wolverines have one of the PD's best pitchers in Brett Mays (7-3). Also back is OF Jordan Ritz (.373/.495)
6. Denbigh (9-11, 9-9): The Patriots rode the hitting and right arm of Aaron Myers (8-2), whose wins last season included a 5-3 decision over Menchville. Ex-Bethel star Chris Ochsenfeld takes over as head coach.
7. Gloucester (17-10, 12-6): The Dukes lost plenty from last year but return maybe the best middle infield combo in SS David Lutz and 2B Adam Baldwin. The question mark: Pitching. Not experience there.
8. Hampton (7-13, 6-12): The Crabbers might be a year away, but don't sleep on them now. Sophomore P/3B Steve Hux (3-4) and junior SS Cody Seals lead a team that gained valuable experience last year.
9. Heritage (1-19, 0-18): Former Maury JV coach Doug Williams takes over a program that has gone 1-35 in the district the last two years. He will rely heavily on P/1B Charlie Harrison and P/SS Jon Mayo.
10. Phoebus (3-17, 3-15). The Phantoms return senior Jordan Roby, the winning pitcher in two of their three victories. But he doesn't have the same talent around him he did during football season.
PD baseball preview: Menchville has the pitching to repeat
« Previous Story More Topic pages Next Story »
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.