The MC Scots baseball team is entering the 2020 season looking to build off of an abnormal year that was derailed by adversity and injuries. Maryville ended last season with a 22-17 (11-10) record, and every starter went down with an injury and missed an extended amount of time at some point during the year.
However, this enabled many players who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to play to gain experience. Maryville ended up finishing the season with a team batting average of .264, accompanied by an impressive team Earned Run Average (ERA) of 3.86.
Going into this season, Maryville is projected to finish sixth in the USA South preseason poll. The Scots are entering the season with 41 players — 23 returners and 18 newcomers. The Scots will also have a new, familiar face leading the team out of the dugout this year. Clint Helton, who graduated from Maryville College in 2011, will take over as the new head coach of the baseball team.
“This school has changed my life. This place has given me the opportunity to work and impact the lives of young men,” Helton said. “I definitely don’t take this opportunity lightly.”
Helton and his staff have placed a big emphasis on accountability, team chemistry and work ethic this offseason. The squad’s four senior captains — Derek Hurt, Alden Wright, Jordan Davis, and Zach Messinger — have done an excellent job holding the team accountable, serving their teammates and leading.
“Being named a captain by my teammates and coaching staff is one of my proudest accomplishments,” Hurt said. “To be seen in such a high regard by the people you care so much about is better than any on-field accolade, in my opinion.”
Derek Hurt hits a dinger.
Photo Courtesy of MC Communications.
Helton will have a multitude of options to rely on for production. Davis (3-3, 2.60 ERA, 67K’s) and Messinger (3-3, 2.73 ERA) are standouts at the pitching position. Davis was a 2019 3rd Team All-Conference selection, making him a clear asset for the team.
Senior Tyler Stubbs (2-0, 1.80 ERA), junior Trevor Townsend (2-0, 26K’s), and senior Anthony Rodriguez (1-2, 19K’s) will also help solidify the position on the mound for the Scots.
Wright (.282, 38 RBI) and Hurt (.209, 10 RBI) are reliable hitters at the plate.
Seniors Drew Johnson (.259, 34 RBI), Cody Gregory (.224, 10 RBI), and Hayden Hollingsworth (.244, 15 RBI, 41 SB) will also be able to provide a spark with their bats. Sophomores Ryan Jones (.212, 10 RBI) and Gabe Lopez (.333, 15 RBI) will look to build off of their stellar freshman seasons.
“With a big roster, you hope that everybody is ready to be the next man in. We had a lot of key contributors play last year,” Helton said. “This season, we will have a lot of guys who might not be playing right away but who could easily be in there just as well.”
Pitching and hitting appear to be something that the Scots shall be able to do fairly well this season with the talent currently on the team. However, they need to clean up a few things on the defensive side, such as fielding and throwing balls at a high level.
Trevor Townsend delivers a pitch.
Photo Courtesy of MC Communications.
The Scots are looking to take that next step this season — playing for a conference title. A seemingly distant goal has become a realistic reality this season, due to the experience and team comradery. Expect the Scots to have plenty of players, both old and new, making an impact on the field this season.
“We have a great group of guys that are bought into the team and support each other wholeheartedly,” Hurt said. “The coaches and leaders on this team have stepped up big and have created a family atmosphere that is backed by a championship attitude.”
The Scots will look to build off of the lessons that they learned last year and right the ship. The pieces are in place for the Scots to have a very successful year.