What head baseball coach Jeremy Parker said about his 2019 Northeast Jones Tigers…
“We have six seniors this year. All of them contributed in some form or fashion last year. To be successful this year, we need them to be major contributors this year.
“The first senior I’ll mention is Patrick Little. Patrick already signed with Hinds Community College. He was our No. 1 pitcher last year who finished 8-2 on the mound, and he plays first base for us when he’s not pitching. We look forward to him filling those roles for us this year again.
“Our second senior is Tyler Harper. Tyler’s been our middle infielder for the last two years, but this year he’ll probably have to share the catching duties with Shelby Nowell. He’ll probably hit in the three or four hole spot in the lineup. We expect him to be a major contributor for us on offense and we feel good about him behind the plate or at shortstop.
“Our third senior is Brady Blackwell. Brady was one of our top relievers last year. This year he may transition as our Tuesday night starter or possible start on the weekend for us. He played some third base for us last year too. Right now we’re looking at him possibly splitting time at first base with Patrick Little or maybe playing some outfield when he’s not on the mound.
“Our next senior is Joey Withers. Joey played a little bit of outfield for us last year and was one of our main courtesy runners. This year it looks like he’ll slide into center field and stay there most of the time. He’ll be a guy that will either hit in the two or nine-hole because he runs the bases pretty well.
“Our fifth senior is Dayvis McLeod. Dayvis hit four-hole for us last year. He’s been a starter since he was a 10th grader. But at our very first practice, Dayvis threw a ball in for the outfield and popped his UCL ligament. Eventually, he’ll have to have surgery on that but for right now he’ll DH for us and not play any in the field. He’s able to swing the bat without any discomfort right now, and we hope that continues where he can at least play his senior year.
“Our last senior is Dylan Greer. Dylan has continuously been a left-hand pitcher out of the bullpen for us since his ninth grade year. We look for that to continue. He’ll definitely be one of our district relievers. In the past, he’s also been a DH but with Dayvis playing that role Dylan will play out in the field, likely first base or the outfield when the opportunity presents itself.
“[Underclassman] that will be in our lineup include Mason Smith and Shelby Nowell. Smith played right field for us last year as a sophomore. This year I look for him to slide in one of those top three roles on the mound and probably at shortstop when he’s not on the mound. As a junior, I look for him to have a breakout year.
“Shelby was also a relief pitcher for us last year. This year he may take the bulk of the catching duties or split them in Tyler Harper. He’ll also play a little bit of outfield.
“We also have some guys buying for time at like second base and third base. Those guys are Eli Collins (sophomore) and Carson Ellis (freshman). Both of those guys have looked good in practice.”
How They Can Win
“Coming into the year, I thought our pitching would be a strength for us, and it will have to be if we want to go deep into the playoffs. Right now we’re a little rusty. We also need some of these younger guys (sophomore and juniors) to come through for us and develop into good bats at the plate.”
P- Patrick Little or Brady Blackwell
C- Tyler Harper or Shelby Nowell
1B- Patrick Little or Brady Blackwell
2B- Eli Collins or Sam Mansell
3B- Carson Ellis or Brady Blackwell
SS- Mason Smith or Tyler Harper
LF/RF- Dylan Greer/Brady Blackwell/Dalton Tanner/Dawson Brooks/Shelby Nowell
CF- Joey Withers
DH/UTIL- Dayvis McLeod