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Young Titans Ready To Make Some Noise In 12th Region

The Harrodsburg Herald/Casey Roberts
The Titans are ready to get back on the diamond and make some noise this season.

Casey Roberts
Herald Staff

On the heels of an impressive 26-10 record and 46th District Championship, the Mercer County Titans baseball program will try to produce another successful season without the help of 12 seniors from last year’s team. Head Coach Cody Christopher will now rely on his new group of experienced players in their aspirations of competing for the 12th region championship.

After what most teams would consider a very successful season, the Titans will have a tall task replacing the production of the 12 graduates from last year. The before mentioned seniors accounted for 80% of Mercer’s total at bats and 14 of 18 home runs.

“Losing so many seniors from last year’s team forces us to field almost a completely new team. Thankfully, we have 12 freshmen to replace those seniors from last year,” said Christopher.

Senior Evan Hart recently inked his signature to pitch at the University of Kentucky and will be the ace of the bullpen for the Titans in his final year. He led the team last season with 67 strikeouts while boasting a 2.29 earned run average. With the departure of nearly every starter from last year’s team, Hart and his fellow seniors welcome the challenge of teaching the younger Titans about the winning culture around the program.

“This will be a long season, starting slow is a real possibility as the young guys catch up to speed. Hopefully the other seniors and I can put them in the right positions to learn and be successful,” said Hart.

Hart will also be the Titans most experienced hitter, in 91 at bats he recorded four doubles, one triple, one homer tallying 11 RBI’s. However, the .220 batting average is an area he feels he can improve.

“I spent a lot of time working on hitting this offseason .220 is definitely too low by my standards. My swing is feeling smoother. This team needs a reliable power hitter and I’ve put a lot of time in improving my strength to fill that role.” said Hart.

Christopher spoke about the strides Hart took in the offseason in preparation to lead his team this season “Evan matured a lot since last season, forgoing his senior year of basketball was surely a difficult decision for him, but it shows his level of commitment to baseball. The velocity of his fastball has improved, he continues to improve his slider and his changeup is looking solid.”

The coaching staff believes Hart’s abilities will reflect in the outings of the younger pitchers tasked with filling the void behind their division one counterpart. Freshmen Ayden Stephens, Carter Devine and Jeran Layton are all expected to join Hart in the pitching rotation.

“Ayden, carter and Jeran are being thrown to the wolves for lack of better terms, but we trust in those guys and believe they will be successful,” said Christopher. The young pitches will need to pick up some of the slack after the Titans lost senior pitcher Seth Caton to a torn ACL.

Mercer focused heavily on swing mechanics this offseason. Christopher hopes the many hours spent in the batting cages will be reflected this season.

” Evan had a down year last year, it seemed like every ball he hit unfortunately went directly to a fielder, but he is a great contact hitter and we expect him to have a solid year with the bat. Will Johnson will be a reliable hitter for us as well. I look for Colson Fogg to bring lots of power to our lineup, the coaches and I also expect great production out of Ayden Stephens and Carter Devine,” said Christopher.

Devine’s skillset makes him a very versatile player for the Titans, as an eighth grader Devine appeared in 18 games for Mercer last season. Even as a freshman Christopher considers him a leader for the Titans

“As our shortstop Carter leads by example, he’s been around our program and knows what’s expected of him.” said Christopher.

Other impactful defensive players include Jono Logdon who will be the anchor of the outfield

“He’s as good as you could ask for to lead the outfielders. His efforts to help improve reads and cuts with our younger guys will certainly help us in the long run.” said Christopher

Christopher also bragged on catchers Brayden Campbell and Andrew Sheperson for their leadership behind the plate.

There will be no cupcakes on this year’s schedule. The extremely challenging slate of competition is Christopher’s way of preparing his team for big time games in the postseason.

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