At first glance, it would seem to be a difficult challenge for the South County Secondary baseball team to improve on last year’s 17-6 overall record. But the Stallions have eight of their starters back from last year’s successful squad and are hungry to atone for a tough ending to the 2010 spring, the result of a first round Northern Region playoff loss to Centreville.
"We’ve set our sights pretty high and expect to be better this year," said South County head coach Mark Luther.
Following an early spring in which poor weather has resulted in several postponements of exhibition or regular season games, South County finally opened its season this past Monday night, March 28, with a Patriot District game at West Potomac. The Stallions, in the make-up game from last Friday night, came out blistering the baseball, accumulating 17 hits on way to a 15-4 win over the Wolverines.
"We were happy with that," said Luther, of the heavy hitting production in the win. "We spread it out throughout the line-up."
Prior to the West Potomac game, it had been 23 days since the Stallions had taken the field against an opponent — that occurring during a pre-season game versus Mount Vernon. So South County was more than ready to get in a game and unleashed against West Potomac.
"We’ve had bad luck with the weather," said Luther.
Several players put together productive games against the Wolverines. Mike Egbert, a senior designated hitter, smacked four hits, including a double, and batted in four runs from the No. 8 position in the line-up. Andrew Rector, a junior outfielder, also had a big night with three hits, including a double, from the leadoff position. Seniors Mike Perez, the clean-up hitter and catcher, and third baseman/shortstop Luke Bondurant both hit doubles and finished with two hits apiece.
On the mound, senior pitcher Tyler Frazier, who will be the Stallions’ shortstop when he is not on the hill, threw four shutout innings, throwing an efficient 43 pitches and allowing just one hit, to earn the win.
Frazier, a right hander, enters the season as South County’s No. 2 starting pitcher. He pitched only sparingly a year ago but, according to Luther, began to emerge as a real talent on the mound during this past offseason. Frazier has earned a college scholarship to play baseball at UNC-Greensboro next school year.
"He started only two games last year," said Luther, of Frazier’s limited pitching outings in 2010. "He just has really blossomed over the summer and fall. He’s a tall kid and has really grown into his body. He’s throwing the ball much harder."
The Stallions’ top starter this season is University of South Carolina-bound Evan Beal, a senior who was originally scheduled to start in games versus Kettle Run (Fauquier County) over the last couple of weeks. But both scheduled road dates versus Kettle Run — the original March 16 season opener, and the March 22 make-up — were rained out. The two teams are trying to set up another make-up, which could occur on Wednesday, May 4 at South County.
Beal, a hard-throwing right-hander with an outstanding curve, went 5-2 with three saves last year. In two of his starts, he struck out 13 batters. He was the hard-luck loser, allowing just two base hits, in the Stallions’ region playoff loss to Centreville. Beal was scheduled to pitch earlier this week in a district home game versus Lake Braddock on Tuesday.
This Friday at 8 p.m., the Stallions will play a district game at W.T. Woodson.
Over spring break week (April 18-22), South County will travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. where it will look to defend its title at the Mingo Bay Classic.