GOODY, Ky. – When it comes to putting out a starting lineup card this season for the Belfry Pirates baseball team, head coach Michael Hagy has to do a little shuffling.
That’s because not one player will play at one set position. The Pirates are versatile and some of them will be required to play several positions.
“We will be playing about 14 guys,” Hagy said before taking to the football field to practice. Like most teams in the area, Belfry has had to fight the cold, damp weather and practice time on the baseball diamond has been limited.
“We have to be versatile,” Hagy said. “It just depends on who is pitching in the game. Guys will have to move around each game and even during the game.”
“We can move people around and not miss a beat,” Hagy added.
Senior Zack Francisco leads the way and will handle two key positions, depending on who is pitching on a certain day. Francisco could find himself behind the plate handling the catching duties, or at shortstop manning the center of the infield.
When Francisco is at short, junior Caleb Stanley will be catching for BHS.
Senior Eli Huddle will be in center field, but can move over and play either of the other two outfield slots. Senior Sean Hurley could see action at second base or first base, once again, depending on who is pitching.
Junior Reed Williamson is a utility man in the infield and will see action at shortstop, third base or second base.
Sophomore Keaton Taylor could see playing time at short, in the outfield and as a starting pitcher.
Junior Joey Duty will see action at first base and in the outfield. Junior Zack Fields will pitch, and play both first base and third base. Fields is perhaps the first hurler in the rotation. Madison Ghormley, another senior, could see playing time in the outfield or on the mound.
Junior Cameron Johnson will be in left field, but could also do some relief pitching. Junior Austin Rollins could also see action at third base, as could senior Travis Maynard, according to Hagy.
Although Belfry lost some solid pitching due to graduation, Hagy feels he has a solid starting staff and some other players who can provide some relief innings.
The Pirate rotation consists of sophomore Dustin Jewell, who may also see action at first base, Taylor, Duty and Fields. Others could see time on the mound.
“Our pitching has been pretty good so far,” Hagy said.
In Belfry’s early games, defense has been a struggle. But Hagy attributes that due to the weather and not being able to get many reps on the field to get their timing down. He thinks those issues will be taken care of once the weather gets warmer and drier.
“It’s been tough with the weather and hard to get any consistency,” Hagy said.
“I think our offense will be fine,” Hagy said. “So far we’ve been hitting the ball. We just need to get some games in when the weather breaks.”
Other players on the Pirate rosters are Keilan Carr, Matt Dean, Michael Dotson, Macky Francis, Jordan Medding, Nate Sanger and Kevin Slone.
Belfry has its usual tough schedule playing regional powers such as Paintsville, Pikeville, Lawrence County, Prestonsburg, Johnson Central and Hazard. They will also have district games with Phelps and Pike Central, along with other local teams such as East Ridge, Sheldon Clark and Logan, W.Va.
The Pirates were scheduled to play Pikeville today (Friday) – weather permitting.
He is assisted by longtime local coach Greg Smith, Bob Scott, Jason Cross and Boo Williamson.
“I think we can compete for a regional championship,” Hagy concluded.