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[Photos by Donna Kennedy / jhurndon.com] Above left, Bryce Sammons signals to the team that there is one out in the inning after making a play. Above center, Elijah Moss keeps an eye on a runner as he lays out to make a catch for the Pirates. Above right, Kade McLeRoy played shortstop for the Pirates as they faced the AAAA Starr’s Mill team in a scrimmage game last Friday.

Pirates prepare to ‘run with perseverance’

Coach Blake Parrott started his first season as head coach with a scrimmage game against AAAA team Starr’s Mill. The Pirates fell 12-1 in the Feb. 9 scrimmage.

The 2024 Pirates baseball team includes #1 Caleb Boyt, #2 Elijah Moss, #3 Turner Whelan, #4 Landon Wood, #5 Ty Rowland, #6 M.T. Moody, #7 T.J. Snyder, #8 Cooper Crow, #9 Brooks Johnson, #11 Sawyer Sellman, #12 Andrew Huffstetler, #14 Alan Majoros, #15 Cooper Brown, #16 Cade Moerman, #17 Jeremy Mitchell, #19 Luke Spraggins, #21 Bryce Sammons, #22 Ashton Cox, #23 Garrison Blessitt, #24 Jackson Terry and #27 Kade McLeRoy.

“We are young as far as experience goes. We return four starters from last year’s team, including pitcher Cooper Crow, catcher Jackson Terry, catcher Andrew Huffstetler and centerfielder Elijah Moss). While we might be young with experience on the varsity level, we have some really good players,” said coach Parrott. “I am very excited about this team and the work they have put in. They will be playing one of the toughest non-region schedules in the state once again. So we will have to grow up fast but this group can handle that.”

The team officially started the season as they hosted Ola on Feb. 12 and Lambert on Feb. 16 (after the Journal Reporter’s press deadline). They will host Ola again Feb. 17 at 3 p.m. and play Starr’s Mill on the road Feb. 17.

The Pirates will be led by head coach Parrott with assistant coach John Sutton returning this year after taking a year off. Coach Craig Chatman will work with infielders and hitters and Kris Justice will be the ninth grade team coach.

“Our defense is solid, and we will be solid behind the plate too. Pitching will be good as always but a little different as we do not have that power arm that we have had in years past, but we have guys that can flat out pitch and fill up the strike zone and that is all you need,” said coach Parrott. “Hitting has been better this year as a whole. We have some guys that can swing it and that have bought into our small ball game we like to use. But I think our biggest strength is our team chemistry. These guys hold each other accountable and truly love one another. I will take a team like that over a team full of superstars any day.” 

This is the last year for AAA region competition as the school will drop down to AA next year. Coach Parrott said it will be important to keep everyone healthy this year and other schools may be underestimating the Pirates’ ability after losing many seniors.

“Everyone in our region returns most of their starters. We are the only team that is having to replace seven starters. I say that to say this, a lot of our region opponents know this and expect us to have a down year. Well I hate it for them because here in Pike we don’t rebuild, we reload! I’m so excited for this year’s group. I am blessed to be able to coach these young men each day,” said coach Parrott. “Our main goal as a coaching staff is not to win games, but to turn these boys into young men. And if we can do that, winning will take care of itself. I pray that each one of our players has an enjoyable experience this year. Hebrews 12:1 says, ‘let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’ Well I can say that this year’s team is ready to run this race. Go Pirates!”

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