Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

June 20, 2014

Area flavor aids Hounds' bite

ASHLAND — It’s hard to find an area of the Huntington Hounds’ 18-and-under baseball roster that doesn’t excite manager Caleb Stewart.

“I like my roster offensively really well. I like it defensively really well,” Stewart said Thursday. “Front end, we’ve got some pretty good pitching. Pretty much as a whole, they’re all gonna throw strikes. And we’ve got probably five or six guys that are gonna keep us in about any ball game.”

Five 16th Region players and 10 who have committed to or signed with Division I college programs are listed on the roster for the Hounds, who stood 11-3 entering a scheduled game Thursday afternoon.

Boyd County and Rowan County each provide two players: Lions catcher Jacob Barnwell, an Ohio State commit, and pitcher/outfielder Dylan Grimm, and Vikings pitcher Cam Planck and outfielder Justin Graham.

Ashland’s Cam Fritz, who caught, pitched and played first base for the Tomcats, is listed as a pitcher on the roster.

Planck and Fritz drew mention from Stewart as players who would help the Hounds on the hill.

Others who will see time on the mound: Wheelersburg’s Wade Martin, Kentucky signee Jacob Hamilton of Pikeville, Waverly’s Pierce Knisley, Ohio State signee Seth Kinker of Cabell Midland, Chandler Sedat of West Bloomfield (Mich.) and Alex Sommerville from Point Pleasant.

Shortstop Trey Dawson of Hurricane, a West Virginia signee, anchors the Hounds’ infield.

Graham “will probably play center the majority of the time,” Stewart said. Barnwell may also see time out there when he’s not catching.

Offensively, the Hounds expect to switch things up from their usual M.O.

“We probably don’t have as much speed this year as I normally have, so we’re probably gonna have to play a little more station-to-station game,” Stewart said. “The good thing about the team is, there’s not really an (easy) out in the lineup. Everybody’s got a chance to really contribute 1-through-9. We all have pretty good ideas at the dish.”

All told, Stewart thinks his team has the makings of a successful one.

“High-end pitching is gonna give us trouble like it would anybody else, but we should dominate mediocre pitching,” he said. “If we can do that, then we should be all right. Our pitching’s gonna be good enough to keep us in about every game.”

Stewart is a Boyd County and University of Kentucky product and former Mets minor leaguer.

The Hounds play their home games at Kennedy Center in Barboursville, Stewart said. Their schedule can be accessed at houndsbaseball.com.

ZACK KLEMME can be reached at zklemme@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2658.

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