The Williamsburg High School baseball program is about to enter its fifth season with head coach Bryan Hopkins at the helm.
In that time, the baseball Jackets have seen a lot of improvement, going from a 3-24 record in 2014 to a 12-win season in 2016. Last year the team won nine games, including an appearance in the 13th Region All “A” championship, and two district victories over Whitley County and South Laurel.
In 2018, Williamsburg has their sights set on double digits in the win column once again, as well as an opportunity to compete in the 13th Region championship tournament this May. And with the right personnel in place, the team’s chances of achieving those goals are looking better than they have in several years.
Leading the way for the Jackets this spring will be senior Jake Harrison, a catcher with tremendous baseball IQ that recently committed to play collegiately at Roane State Community College in Tennessee. When asked about his expectations for the upcoming season, he said, “I think we’re going to have one of our best years since I’ve been here. We’re hoping to make a deep run in the All ‘A,’ and we’re also looking forward to what we’ll be able to do in the district.”
Harrison mentioned junior Cameron Bowen and fellow senior Justin Murray as two players that could help the Jackets get the job done on the pitching mound, adding that strong pitching will be key to the team’s success moving forward.
“I think we’ll be pretty solid with our hitting,” Harrison added. “So it will probably come down to what we can do on the defensive side of the ball.”
As for Bowen, who has emerged in recent years as another one of Williamsburg’s go-to guys on the baseball diamond, he said of the upcoming 2018 season, “Things have been going great. We’ve been working really hard. My expectations are that we should be able to do really well this year. I think we’ve improved a lot.”
When asked what he thinks will allow the Jackets to reach their full potential this spring, Bowen said, “We just have to keep working hard every day, and go one hundred percent all the time. We’ve been together for a few years now, and we’ve developed a pretty good bond with each other. I think that will help us as well.”
Also looking to make big contributions for Williamsburg this season will be returning juniors Clay Kysar and Hunter Brown, as well as sophomores Mason Manning and Trey Hendrix. Helping to provide more veteran leadership will be seniors Hunner Adkins and Zach Caddell.
The baseball Jackets are scheduled to open up their season with a home game against McCreary Central on March 19.
They will begin play in the All “A” regional tournament March 26 against Pineville, and will begin play in the 50th District in mid-April.