Looking back, I had a projected lineup of (in order) Michael Bianco, Jason Barber, Henry Webb, Hunter Roth, Jack McClure, Drew Phillips, Pittman Phillips, Steven Whitfield, and Aundrel Turner. Now mind you, this was without Elliott who at the time was out with a wrist injury.
Well, I got 3 out of 9 right at the end of it all (in Hunter, Jack and Aundrel).
Webb moved up to the leadoff spot because of his speed and ability to just get on base. Jason was in the 6-hole but was second on the team in batting average. Bianco had a horrible start to the season, but earned his way back into the lineup come playoff time and performed like the coaches expected him to at the start of the year. Drew Phillips just never did perform to contribute as the season got going, Pittman was in and out in the batting order but was significant on defense and on the mound that he could not be pulled out on defense (he played all but 5 defensive outs this year). Steven couldn't ever find his bat but like Bianco did not have the start on the mound like he wanted but pitched like he used to last year toward playoff time. Brooks Krouse replaced Whitfield on defense in Left Field and found his way to bat 2nd in the order by the time region play started. William Elliott was cleared to play before the first Lafayette game and got the start if not for Aundrel Turner being late for the bus and eventually got back to his 3-hole spot. Chadwick Lamar started as being DH'ed for but found his bat by the time Elliott came back and found his way to be the DH in the lineup instead of getting DH'ed.
So we finally had a lineup of (in order): Webb, Krouse, Elliott, Roth, McClure, Barber, Lamar, Bianco/Phillips, Turner.
Seems funny, we started the regular season with Coach Daniel Parrish losing his keys through the first floor roof of the Athletic Facility before heading to New Albany. Near the end of the regular season, I had locked my keys in my car in Olive Branch. Finally at the end of the year, we could not find that "key" hit. (Okay, that was a terrible pun)
The team (according to my stats I kept up with all year) hit .271 for the year, but an OBP of .409. William Elliott led the team in batting average (.385) - and after posting a .750 fielding percentage last year, only committed 1 error out of 44 put-out chances (for a .977 fielding percentage). Turner led the team in Fielding Percentage (.980) only because he had more put out chances than Elliott and played all but 12 outs in Center Field this season. The team Fielding Percentage was .925 (after it had dropped below .900 at one point during Spring Break).
For pitching, Barber by far led the team in strikeouts with 74, WHIP (1.077), Opp OBP (.288), and Strike % (63.4). Hunter led the staff with an 8-2 record and led the team with 2 Saves. Barber was 7-3 with a save, Whitfield was 4-3, Houston Roth was 3-0 in his Freshmen year, Pittman was 2-0 and led the team in ERA with 1.00 and also recorded a Save (even though he was not supposed to be given credit for the one he got that he also was the winning pitcher in). Tyler Hallam was 1-0 in the one complete game he did, and Walker Abel was 0-1 in the one inning in relief he pitched against Tupelo where Elliott got injured and Oxford coughed up a lead. Will Christian and Lamar also pitched a combined 1 inning as well but got no decisions for each. The team ERA was a 2.86, recorded 200 strikeouts, 68 walks (+ 1 intentional), hit 42 batters (for a total of 111 free passes to first base) - but the stat I think Coach Mike Thees would like the most: the staff committed zero balks all year.
For batting, besides what I mentioned already, Barber led the team in OBP (.496), Elliott led the team in Triples (2), Webb and Turner (of all people) led the team in home runs (2). Roth led the team in RBIs (31), Webb and Barber each got plunked 16 times, McClure led the team in Walks (29), Barber led the team in Strikeouts (27), Webb led the team in stolen bases with 13. The team totaled 185 strikeouts against 134 walks (+ 6 Intentional) and got plunked 78 times - totaling 228 free passes to first base.
Turner was easily be the most improved player (the "surprise" player I eluded to back in the pre-game article), who played with confidence this year and made plays that were eye-popping. He had the game of his life on the road at Kossuth (which I failed to attend due to a Middle School home baseball game). He went 3-4, doubled, homered, hit an inside-the-park home run (the only such HR the team hit all year), and both HRs were Grand Slams - the only two hit all year. He also got 9 RBI of his 24 he got for the season in that game.
Now lets not forget the "two-day" game against Lafayette to end the Spring Break tournament that started at 10 PM and ended at 1 AM - despite it lasting 3 hours, it ended in a run-rule in the sixth inning. Of course the only reason it started at 10 PM was because the Tournament does not allow ties to happen. I don't know who would make up such a rule.
Oxford did win 2-5A and put New Hope in its place in the division, got 25 wins for the first time since 2005 among a tough schedule full of teams that went far in their playoffs. However the end result was not like the Region result. New Hope is playing in the North Half series and Oxford is sitting at home.
There is summer baseball to look forward to until the end of June. Until then, only 9 months until either Hunter Roth or Jason Barber throws the first pitch of the 2014 season.
Even though there is summer ball, I miss Baseball Season already.