Making the regional tournament used to be cause for celebration around the Warren County High School baseball clubhouse. Coach Adam Childs is interested in making it a yearly ritual.
On the heels of the team’s third trip to regionals in four years under coach Childs, a new crop of Pioneers has been selected to try and continue the program’s success. Coach Childs picked 28 players over the weekend for next year’s squad, one the head coach believes will benefit from this year’s unlikely run to the regional tournament.
“We have a lot of experience coming back because we were so young this year,” said Childs. “Hopefully we can build on our district success and going to regionals when most people didn’t think we would.”
The Pioneers entered the season projected near the bottom of the District 6AAA standings after losing the majority of the team’s starters from the 2013 squad that won the district tournament. Warren County surprised the prognosticators by finishing the season 7-3 in district play and claiming second in the regular season. In the district tournament, the Pioneers swept Rhea County to punch their ticket to another regional tournament.
Colby Elkins, Lucas Rogers, Taisei Yasunaga and Isaac Golden – all rising juniors – were on the field when the Pioneers fell to East Hamilton 10-1 in the opening round of the regional tournament. The four core juniors, along with an experienced pitching rotation featuring senior Will Lupo, junior Cameron Shaw and sophomores Tyler Prater and Tyler Hollingsworth, will be counted on to form the backbone of next season’s squad.
Lupo is joined by fellow seniors Matt Savage and Jake Pennington, while Nick Williamson, Colton Smith, Trey Crothers, Noah Fann and Peyton Norris round out the junior class.
Prater, Hollingsworth, Trayton Rackley, Wesley Jennings, Alex Steiner, Trevor Collins, Cole Estes and Keaton Welch make up the sophomore class.
The freshman class features Will Cantrell, Sloan Seymour, Brooks Helton, Hunter Adams, Ethan Smith, Brandon Hennessee and Dylan Ward. All seven played at Warren County Middle School last season, where the group came up short in the Central Tennessee Conference tournament championship game.
The Pioneers will work out throughout the summer and fall, but will have to wait until Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 until the official start of spring practice.