Edwards: “One of our main goals is to get 20 wins”
2018 was a good year for Burgin baseball. They were under new leadership and got off to one of their best starts in school history. In 2019, Head Coach Donnie Edwards has high expectations for his squad.
Burgin has two seniors this season: Eli Stratton and Spencer Moore.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Moore will miss some time with a leg injury, but is expected to be back this season.
“We just want those guys to grab a hold of that leadership role and lead these other guys to where we want to get to,” said Edwards. “Obviously, player-lead teams are your better teams and that’s what we’re trying to instill here.”
The Bulldogs went 8-11 last season, losing to West Jessamine in the first round of the district tournament.
That record shows the Bulldogs only played 19 games last season. This season is much different. Edwards and his staff have scheduled 40 games for Burgin, the most the Bulldogs have scheduled in a long time. Mother Nature will play a factor, but Burgin will have plenty of opportunities to grow and get comfortable this season.
“There just haven’t been a lot of games in years past. Last year, we had a decent amount of games cancelled due to rain. Last year was just a tough year as far as weather goes,” said Edwards. “My goal for every year that I’m here is we’re going to try to play as strong a schedule and as many games as possible. I think the more games you play, the better off you are. You become more relaxed and you learn a whole lot more as well. I think it’s a good rule of thumb that if you play somebody, you try to play a home-and-home or two games in one day.”
Burgin has scheduled four teams to play a home-and-home or back-to-back games this season.
“We want to try to showcase our place as much as possible because we’ve done a lot of renovations to the field and everything,” he said. “We’re really excited about having all the renovations completed.”
Listed below is the full roster for Burgin baseball.
Seniors: Eli Stratton and Spencer Moore.
Sophomores: Skylar Logan, Evan May, Cameron Nagle and Jackson Qualls.
Freshmen: John Boursaw.
8th grade: Noah Broce, Landen Hamlin, Diego Mandujano, Jacob Qualls, Hunter Reed, and Brendan Stanley.
7th grade: Clayton Herring and Aaron May.
Having no juniors means that Burgin, outside of their seniors, will rely heavily on underclassmen.
Edwards said he has seen some very positive things so far in early Spring practice. Several Bulldogs played in the Fall league this year and that has helped a lot of the guys, according to Edwards.
“We played Fall league this year and that was a huge help. It’s going to spring board us into this season,” he said. “We have high expectations for this season.”
Edwards said one of Burgin’s main goals is to reach the 20-win mark.
“That’s one of our main goals is to win 20 games,” he said. “And we feel like that’s a legitimate goal to have, so hopefully our guys are anxious to get started, and we as a staff, are anxious too.”
Edwards said not much has changed in terms of preparation compared to his first season, but guys know what to expect now that he has a full season of coaching the Bulldogs under his belt.
“There is a lot to implement last year with it being my first year. I didn’t want to put too much on them,” he said. “The guys are more relaxed because they’ve learned a lot and know what to expect. That’s been a real plus for us heading into our second season as a staff and as a team.”
Edwards said he has a big group of guys that will see the mound this season.
Boursaw, Reed, the Qualls brothers, Moore, the May brothers and Broce will get a lot of opportunities to showcase their skills and talent on the mound.
“Spencer (Moore) didn’t get to pitch much last year because we had him behind the plate catching. I’m going to give him some relief this year and have him throw more. We’ve got Jackson and Jacob Qualls that are going to be throwing a lot for us,” said Edwards. “Aaron and Evan May will also be pitching. Those two guys pitched in the fall and we’re excited to see them pitch this Spring. They did a great job in the fall. Noah (Broce) did a great job for us in the Fall as well.”
Broce didn’t play last season due to transfer rules, but Edwards is excited for the eighth grader.
“We’re really excited about his future. He’s really stepped up and we are excited about him,” said Edwards.
Burgin’s staff hasn’t decided on an ace, but said that it could be one of five different guys out there on opening day,” said Edwards. “That’s the big thing is trying to develop our pitching to where we have four or five guys we can throw out there at any time. That’s where we’re headed. We’ve thrown a lot of bullpen sessions this year, a lot more than last year and I think their arms are stronger, their consistency is a lot better so we’re excited.”
Despite Moore getting more time on the mound, Edwards said he will still see time behind the plate when he returns from injury. Stratton will be catching as well as Stanley.
“That’s the great thing about playing the heavy number of games we’re playing, is I can put out several different lineups throughout the year and get everybody comfortable,” said Edwards. “A lot of different guys will get a lot of playing time, and then at the time we are supposed to be peaking, is the time we as coaches have to come to a consensus on what our best lineup is for tournament time.”
Edwards said he has guys he can move around the infield as well.
“Eli (Stratton) will be playing a lot of first base when he isn’t catching. Aaron May and Hunter (Reed) will also see time at first base. Broce and Boursaw will be playing the hot corner at third base. Reed and Moore will also play shortstop,” said Edwards. “Both Qualls brothers will be playing second base as well. We have a lot of different guys who are versatile and can play anywhere on the diamond. This is a very athletic group. You can mix and match a lot of different pieces in different spots. That’s another thing we’re really excited about.”
Jacob Qualls, Evan May, Nagle and Logan will be manning the outfield.
Logan took a couple years off from baseball, made his way back, and the staff couldn’t be more excited.
“He’s had an ankle injury, so he’s been trying to get back from that, but we’re excited about him getting on the field,” said Edwards. “We’re looking for 20 wins. That’s our goal is to be peaking at the end. We’re still a young bunch, but we’ve had a years worth of being together so that should really help us this season.”
Edwards expects his team to perform and give their best effort heading into this second year.
“We’ve built a lot of excitement over here and we’re hoping to continue to build on that,” said Edwards.
Burgin has started off their season 1-0 after defeating Berea 16-6 on Monday, March 18. The Bulldogs will be back on the field today, Thursday, March 21, when they host Lynn Camp at 6 p.m.