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Bennett expects his diamond Dawgs to be much improved

Bennett expects his diamond Dawgs to be much improved
Bennett expects his diamond Dawgs to be much improved | Gleason High School, GHS Bulldogs baseball, Gleason Tennessee

Strike — Bulldog hurler Matt James will be a key cog in Gleason’s attempts to improve on its 2007 results.
Coach Mike Bennett readily admits that his Gleason Bulldogs baseball team will face some fierce district opponents, but after losing only three seniors from last year’s squad, he thinks his team is up to the challenge.
This season, the Bulldogs return two seniors to the field, Matt James at shortstop, pitcher and catcher and Chase Griffin at first base, but is relying on other proven players to carry the load.
Starting for this year’s Bulldogs will be Colin Bennett and James at second and shortstop, respectively, sophomore Cody Ezell in center field Zach Wallace will start at catcher but will also see time in left and right field, and Matt Mayo is another catching possibility. First-time players who are fitting into the lineup include Zack Browning and Tyler Verdell.
As far as pitching, Bennett looks for James, Bennett, Wallace, Ryan Richardson and Nicky Spain to see time on the mound.
This year’s Gleason squad carries a fair amount of underclassmen as well.
“Six eighth-graders are out there. Twenty-three people have tried out. More came out, but didn’t want to stay,” Bennett said. “I decided to keep the 23 if they wanted to stay. They know on the front end that they might not see a lot of playing time, but as long as they put forth the time and effort, they can stay.”
Last season, the Bulldogs didn’t do as well as Bennett expected and didn’t hit as well as he hoped, but a few highlights did show up including Wallace’s throwing a no-hitter against Clarksburg. The Dawgs also played opponents Milan and Humboldt close, but dropped those games.
The 2008 Bulldogs look forward to playing some different teams on their schedule including the Westview Chargers, a squad they haven’t faced in about six years.
“Our district is one of the toughest in single A,” Bennett admitted. “Halls and Union City are tough year in and year out.”
“There’s a lot of work to do,” he concluded. “I’m also assistant football coach and I do that in the afternoon and leave that to go to baseball. There are a lot of days we get behind from where we need to be. There are days we don’t get in what we need to get in.”
Bennett is not worried, however, when it comes to his veteran players. He’s looking to them to get the rest of the team in line for success ahead.
“I’m looking for big things from our starters,” he said. “It’s time for it. They have a year under their belt and it’s time to show improvement. There were only two guys hitting above .300 last year and one just below and none of them were seniors. That’s a plus.”
The Bulldogs will get their first taste of the 2008 season when they take on the Chargers from Westview on Tuesday, March 11 at Martin. The first pitch is slated for 4:30 that afternoon. The first GHS home game will be March 13 when Bradford comes to Tater Town with the game set to begin at 5 p.m.

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