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Pioneers set for home debut
Trice Powers.jpg
Second-year coach Trice Powers has guided his team to a 3-7 start. The Pioneers will play their first home game Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Fans will get their first chance to see the Pioneers at home Wednesday.

As part of the Warrior Classic, Warren County is set to play host to a pair of games at Patrick Ramsey Field. The Pioneers will play a doubleheader, taking on Neuqua Valley, Ill., at 5 p.m. and follow with Glenbrook South, Ill. at 7:30 p.m.

Warren County was originally scheduled to play Thursday at Siegel against Beaver Creek, Ohio, but that game will no longer occur.

The Pioneers, who faced Oakland Tuesday night (results were unavailable), have participated in three tournaments to start the season. Warren County entered this week’s Warrior Classic with a 3-7 record.

While the wins haven’t come – the Pioneers were 1-4 in last week’s Ooltewah Invitational – coach Trice Powers believes the experience will be a big boost later in the season.

“We’re going to be battle-tested,” said Powers. “We haven’t played a bad team. It’s a positive to see some good arms. In quite a few games, we had a chance to win if we do the right things.”

Warren County played three teams last week that could be waiting in the region, losing to 5AAA teams Bradley Central (13-3), East Hamilton (7-3), Ooltewah (16-8) and Soddy Daisy (10-7).

Defensive lapses have been Powers’ biggest concern. The Pioneers have committed 25 errors in 10 games.

“Our defense is not helping us out,” said Powers. “Offensively, it hasn’t been perfect but it’s getting better. Our pitching and defense have rarely been on the same page - either our defense doesn’t help our pitching or the defense plays well and we walk a lot.”

The 10-game sample has given a few Pioneers a chance to make early impacts.

Sophomore Ryland Holder has played multiple positions, but his bat has been the biggest help. Holder has a .406 average and a team-high 13 RBIs.

Fellow sophomore Wyatt Wilson has 11 RBIs, seven coming during last week’s tournament. Omari Harris flashed his potential in the outfield, making a great grab against Siegel in centerfield. 

Holder, Wilson and Harris have played every game this season, as has senior shortstop Hunter Adams.

Senior Brooks Helton has also been steady at the plate and on the mound, sporting a .357 batting average and 3.00 ERA.

Dangerous lead-off hitter Ethan Smith is also rounding into form and finding a way on base at a great clip. The senior has a .708 on-base percentage, supported by drawing walks in nearly half (11-of-26) of his plate appearances.

Powers believes all the parts are there for a successful run once district play begins next week against Rhea County.

“We have to gel together and catch the baseball. Defense is the biggest team aspect of the game – pitching or at the plate can be individual, but defense is about the team,” said Powers. “When we get the defense rolling, we’ll be a tough team for anybody to play.”