Panthers' 1st-year coach shooting for a .500 year North Carroll


Don't expect anything spectacular out of the North Carroll baseball team this season.

At best, the Panthers are solid in all aspects of the game and will be happy to play .500 baseball after going 5-13 last season.

"We don't have any kids who will dominate anybody," said first-year coach Randy Clark, who coached the Panthers' junior varsity baseball team the past four years. "We have a solid group of players. We don't have any pitchers who will go out and pitch shutouts. I just hope our pitching is consistent enough to keep us in games."

To make up for a lack of talent, the Panthers will have to do all the little things right.

"We'll have to play smart," said Clark, who replaced Craig Walker. "I'm optimistic that we can be competitive."

Senior right-handers Kevin Dull and Donnie Hudgins and sophomore left-hander Mike Huller will be the top three pitchers for the Panthers.

Dull is a control artist and Hudgins relies on a good fastball. Huller has a decent fastball and good location on his pitches.

The catcher will be senior John Swam, who is a returning starter and is known for his defense.

"John also has the potential to be a good hitter," said Clark who is looking for hitting anywhere he can find it.

Hudgins is expected to supply some offensive punch as a designated hitter when he isn't on the mound. He hit over .400 for Clark on the junior varsity two years ago.

The first baseman will be senior James Ballard, who has good bat control, and senior Geoff Little, a defensive specialist, will play second.

Dull will be at short when not pitching and his defensive play is typical of the entire North Carroll team.

"Kevin's not flashy but he gets the job done," said Clark.

Senior Steve Hansen is set at third base to complete the infield.

The outfield will be made up of junior Art Crouse in left, junior Eric Wright in center and Gary Blaylock in right.

Crouse may be the designated hitter when Hudgins is pitching.

Clark completed his assessment of the Panthers the way he started it: "We don't have any one star. It's difficult to tell how good we'll be."

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad