BY BRADLEY CROW
The Hazlehurst Indian baseball program has been an afterthought in recent years but that hopes to change under new head coach Vince Granberry who has adopted a “can do” outlook on the baseball field.
“We refuse to just be something these kids do to pass the time,” stated head coach Vince Granberry. “We searched this campus for baseball players and had 46 tryout and we kept the 17 best. We are going to surprise some folks.”
Granberry pointed at four starters that must lead this team to victory. The first is senior Vandyke Thedford who will play catcher, pitcher, and third base. Football standout junior Gabriel Gray will be relied on to pitch and catch with Thedford. Senior Tim Rodgers will patrol centerfield for the Indians while junior Javarious Davis will see action in the outfield and on the mound. Granberry felt these four young men form the nucleus of what could be a surprising program.
The rest of the Indian starters come in the form of sophomore Jay Banks who will start at first base. The middle infield will be protected by sophomore second baseman Houston Collins while freshman Kenny Coleman will man short stop. The final piece to the outfield will be football standout Leviticus Cain while 8th grader Jarvis Warner will see time as the designated hitter. The utility man of note will be Davonte McKenzie who could plug holes in as many as five positions depending on who is on the hill.
“I believe our strong suit is pitching,” explained Granberry. “We got three pitchers that are as good as anyone we will face and we have a lot of young arms in the bullpen.”
The season begins Saturday evening as the Indians travel to Natchez to face Port Gibson and Natchez. The first home contest will be against rival Crystal Springs next Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.