- Published on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 18:14
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Life in the Northern Neck District this season will be nothing short of a roller coaster ride filled with mind-blowing curves, fastballs, and base-clearing-doubles!
Last season, Essex won both the Northern Neck District baseball regular season and tournament crown. However, what a difference a year makes, especially when you consider the fact that the top four teams (Essex, Washington & Lee, Rappahannock and Northumberland) lost many of their top pitchers to
graduation. Colonial Beach hopes to capitalize on the void of missing standouts by focusing on their core group of returnees who have the stuff to make a statement in the Northern Neck.
Thrilled with the litany of potential winning scenarios that could arguably foster a successful season, Drifter baseball head coach Steve Swope said, “We paid our due with trying to build our program back to the prominence we once had.” Prior to Swope’s coaching sabbatical in 2010, the Drifters had five consecutive baseball championships. During the famed Mike Baskeyfield and Brent Steffey era (2004-2009), the Drifters baseball team was one of the best programs in the entire Fredericksburg area.
The Drifters will feature eight returning starters from last season, including Nick Graves and Kamron Smith, who will boost the pitching staff, and bolster the team’s offense. Seniors Dion Gonzalez, Gavin Lutz, Sidney Horton, Devin Davis, Josh Smith, David Allison, Jason Vickery, and Carlos Bermudez are all equally capable of producing clutch RBI’s. “This is a good bunch of kids that come to practice every day with good work habits,” Swope said. “You have to keep building the chemistry, and reiterating everyday that it’s the little things that will get you over the hump for one-run games, and what we call 4-3 wins that will allow you to advance to the big stage (post season), in May.”
While Graves and Smith will be the Drifters’ featured pitching aces, the arms of Dez’John Parker, Allison, Bermudez, Allison, Thomas, and Lutz will play crucial roles in the pitching rotation as the season unfolds.
Although a number of the top schools lost starting seniors to graduation, Swope is a consummate realist about the two major competitors in the Northern Neck District. “Everything goes through Rappahannock, and Essex, and I don’t care what anyone says, they are the perennial powers in the district,” Swope said. “This season will feature a good mix of everybody making a run for the post season.”
After finishing in fifth place last season, the Drifters are focused on finishing in the top four, and bringing home the hardware associated with winning the district crown. “This season, our team will be bigger, stronger, and better as we prepare to make a run this season,” Swope said.
With two scrimmages under their belts (West Point, Chancellor), the Drifters will host James Monroe, on Thursday for their home opener. Game time is 5 p.m.