With most Class A athletic teams, a deep roster can be quite the rarity.
Yet, Commerce High School head baseball coach Steve Cotrell believes his Tigers have enough all-around talent this year to have a dynamic lineup.
“We have a lot of depth,” said Cotrell. “We are going to play 15 guys a lot of the time. I feel confident with sticking a majority of these guys in there and expecting them to get it done.”
The Tigers’ 2014 roster is a mixed bag of veteran leadership and young talent.
Seniors Greyson Cochran, Josh Cook, Keenan Lord, Daniel Streetman and Drew Whitfield all return for their final seasons. The Tigers also add senior Cal Garner to the lineup, who was ineligible to play last season as a transfer student.
While Cotrell admits that his senior class may not be the most naturally gifted bunch, he feels that the intangible qualities they bring to the table are paramount to the team’s success.
“I won’t say that (the seniors) are overly blessed with talent, but they have natural leadership skills,” Cotrell said. “It helps us run a lot more smoothly and when we get midway through the spring, I think that will really help us out. It has already been very beneficial and taken a lot off of us as coaches. We have two or three seniors that really take the initiative.”
Last season, the Tigers had several freshmen who were forced into early starting roles. Cotrell feels that a year of development for Caleb Brooks, Devin Burnette, Drew Hulsey, J’Varius Wood, Trey Parr and D.J. Davis has helped refine the young group as players and athletes.
“What’s going to make the biggest difference this year, is those four or five freshmen who went through the gauntlet last year,” said Cotrell. “They’ve put on about 25 pounds each.”
As it is still early in the season, Cotrell still has the starting lineup open for competition.
“We still have two or three spots that we are going to find out in a couple weeks who wants it more,” he added.
Cotrell feels the Tigers’ biggest advantage this season is a strong corps of pitchers.
Seniors Cook, Garner, Whitfield and Streetman all have experience on the mound in addition to sophomores Hulsey and Burnette.
“We are really deep on the mound, which is going to be a blessing,” he added.
The Tigers opened the 2014 season last Saturday at the Lanier Invitational Tournament.
Commerce fell 14-3 to Brookstone in its first contest, but rebounded with an 11-5 win over Lanier County later that evening.
Commerce defeated Banks County 12-2 in its home opener on Tuesday.
The Tigers will travel to Oglethorpe County on Tuesday, March 1, for an away contest with the Patriots.