Southwest brings back fall baseball
School only offers 4 sports for boys
Southwest High School has made a commitment to its sports programs over the last few years.
The district has completed work on a track, expanded its holiday basketball tournament and now has helped its baseball program with the addition of a fall season.
Currently, there are only four sports options for boys at the high school (cross-country, basketball, baseball and track).
For Baseball Coach Kenny Ferguson, the additional time with his team is welcomed.
Having a fall baseball team isn't a completely new release for Southwest's students. They originally had a fall program that began in 2001 under Jason Cole, but it folded five or six years ago, according to Ferguson.
"I am thankful to our administration and school board for adding fall baseball back to the offering list," he said. "I'm just glad to have fall baseball back to get the extra practice time to work on fundamentals and to replace graduated starters."
Although the fall baseball is not recognized by MSHSAA as a championship sport, its importance is key for schools without football or limited sports offerings.
"Since this is an out of season sport, not all of our conference plays fall ball," Ferguson said. "We still see Purdy, Wheaton, and Exeter from the Ozark 7 and others such as Galena, Hurley, Clever, Blue Eye, et cetera. It is actually a pretty tough schedule."
The Trojan team currently enjoys 27 players, including six freshmen.
Our program grows each year and with these numbers it will be nice getting the extra practice time here in the fall to get ready for the spring season," said Ferguson.
Returning starters for Southwest, who went 12-7 last season, include: Lane England, Brad Daniels, Tyler Bernard and John Mulkey, seniors; Garrett Hobbs, junior; and Paton Clay, sophomore.
"Lane, Brad, and Garrett all had great years and received post season honors and I expect them to lead us this year," Ferguson said. "Mulkey hit over .300 and had a solid junior season in the field and I look for him to have a good senior year. Paton got a lot of playing time as a freshman and played solid defense all season. I look for his offense to pick up this season."
The Trojan coaching staff will also keep an eye on the development of newcomers: Dusty Morgan, senior; River Fields, Jacob Wolf, Bob Randall, and Brent Anderson, juniors; and Landon Wright and J.R. Vinson, sophomores.
"Dusty didn't play last year but along with River, Jacob, Bob, Brent, Landon, and J.R., they must step up and secure solid roles for us," Ferguson said.
Southwest will also added Chris Hunt to the coaching staff. Hunt replaces Tony Eagleburger.