Malden baseball team hopes experience yields success
The Malden Green Wave varsity baseball team enters the 2018 season with a slew of returning pieces off of last season’s squad the finished 13-15.
The Green Wave’s high school baseball roster is composed of five seniors, six juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen.
“We’ve got good numbers and a lot of experience back on the mound,” Malden baseball coach Tim Harmon said. “I also think we will hit the ball. We’ve got Triplett in the middle of the lineup and he’s always a threat.”
Harmon expects Dee Triplett, Mason Brown and Tye Miller to anchor the pitching rotation. Ben French, Gavin Bristow and Ethan Bader are also projected to contribute innings.
“We had trouble throwing strikes last year,” Harmon said. “We averaged about seven or eight walks a game, which isn’t good at any level. But I’m hoping we will build upon the experience we got last year and attack the strike zone better this year. I think the first year of the pitch count was an eye-opening experience for all of us and I think having a year of that under our belt will help me manage their innings better.”
The Green Wave start veteran players up the middle. Shortstop Brown is a fourth-year starter and catcher Bristow is a third-year starter.
“We’ve got guys on the infield with a lot of experience,” Harmon said. “Our biggest weakness will be our outfield defense. We will have three new guys out there and we haven’t picked them out yet. We do have a couple young freshmen that I think will help us, but we will see.”
Basketball standouts Dushawn Butler and Ontario Reed electing to go out for baseball their senior season will provide the Green Wave with more speed on the bases.
“Anytime you can put athletes on the field it’s a good thing,” Harmon said.
The Green Wave currently compete in the Bootheel Conference with state-ranked Portageville, defending conference tournament champion South Pemiscot, Campbell, Senath-Hornersville, Caruthersville and Hayti.
“I would say Portageville is the favorite in the conference,” Harmon said. “They’ve got Torrey, Gage, Riddle and Lance back. After that, I think us, Caruthersville and South Pemiscot will all be right there in the mix. Campbell also has a good, young squad. Senath-Hornersville’s numbers are down, but they’ve got two good pitchers - Brock and Brooks - that can beat you on any given day. I think everyone in the conference will be competitive outside of Hayti, which is young and has had trouble with numbers that past few years. But I think everyone else will be right there.”
Malden is slated to compete in Class 3, District 2 with host Greenville, Clearwater, Doniphan, East Carter County, Puxico and Twin Rivers at the end of the season. Twin Rivers beat Malden in the Class 3, District 2 championship last season.
“Last year we were in the middle of the pack and knocked off the one seed East Carter to get to the championship against Twin Rivers,” Harmon said. “Greenville and Twin Rivers graduated a little bit. Clearwater was young last year, but competitive. Doniphan also has a couple kids that throw it well. I don’t think there is a clear favorite going into the season. We will just have to see who plays well.”
Malden opens its season at Mar. 16 at East Prairie.
“I’m excited about the season,” Harmon said. “We’ve only practiced a week, but the chemistry seems to be good with this team. That varies from year-to-year. Sometimes kids just don’t get along really well when you have this many kids, but so far everyone is working hard and I have no complaints.”
2018 Malden Baseball Schedule
|3/16||East Prairie||Away||4:30 p.m.|
|3/22||Twin Rivers||Home||4:30 p.m.|
|3/24||East Carter/Greenville||Home||11 & 3|
|4/2||Poplar Bluff||Away||4:30 p.m.|
|4/6||South Pemiscot||Away||4:30 p.m.|
|5/7||Saxony Lutheran||Away||4:30 p.m.|