With six seniors and a roster loaded with young talent, the Mercer County Titans baseball team looks to rebound from last year’s exit in the first round of the regional tournament and compete for a district and region title this year.
Mercer lost a lot from last season. Jake Newby, Trevor Allen, Tanner Robins, Ty Sims, Seth Tatum and Mason Hazelwood have all graduated and moved on. Head Coach Adam Shartzer said it would be hard to replace high-character and high-quality kids from last season, but is excited about what this group of seniors can do.
“That’s the thing with high school sports, you know, they’re here for four years and they’re gone, but I love our senior class this year. They work hard, they’re very coachable and they want to win,” said Shartzer.
Noah Irvin, Hunter Armstrong, Joseph Stoeckinger, Zac Robinson, Hunter Kelly and Andrew McGinnis round out the senior class this season for the Titans.
Last season, the Titans had an overall record of 15-15-1, 9-6 in region and 3-4 in district play. Their season ended with a 6-5 loss to Boyle County in the first round of the regional tournament. Shartzer knows this group of kids has the capability of making a run late in the spring and get back to the state tournament.
“We just have to play fundamental baseball this year. We struggled defensively last year and it took us a couple weeks to get our bats going,” he said. “If we start off hot, field the baseball, pitch and throw strikes, I think everything else will take care of itself.”
Shartzer also talked about the brand new coaching staff this season and their specialties.
“Jeremy Noel will be taking care of the pitching staff and working with them throughout the season. Colby Flowers works with the infielders and outfielders, Caleb Berger will work with the catchers and Ty Noel will take care of the offense for the Titans,” he said.
One of the best problems to have on a high school sports team is youth, and the Titans have plenty of it. The mixture of the upperclassmen and underclassmen this season can be big for the Titans as they try to grab district and region titles. Shartzer knows a lot of his younger guys have to step up this year in order to win trophies.
In their first game of the season on Friday, March 23, the Titans fell to Dunbar by a final score of 10-1. Stoeckinger drove in the only run and also led the team with seven strikeouts.
The Titans will be back on the field Thursday, March 29, for their home opener against Rockcastle County. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
For full roster and position breakdowns, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.