• 39°

GHS to rely on youth in 2009 season

Youth is the name of the game for the Greenville Tigers this season.

Last year’s team had a few seniors, but this year’s team is composed of six juniors and nine sophomores.

“We’re a very young team,” said head coach Brad Horn.

The Tigers lost last year’s outfield of Josh Longmire, Marcus Mickles and Demarcus Robinson, but all of last year’s infield is back this season.

“We’re looking to replace the outfield, but our infield is set,” Horn said. “Another positive is that we have nine pitchers. However, they’re all young and we only have a couple with varsity experience.”

The go-to player on the mound for the Tigers is Raymond Moody, but Greenville also has other options.

“Josh Ray is also going to be pitching for us. He’s actually going to start our first game,” Horn said. “We’ve been impressed by him. Rush Nimmer will also pitch for us.”

Horn said he expects Nathan Branum, a new player this year, to impact the team.

“He’s going to be our utility player,” Horn said. “He’ll be in the infield, outfield, and pitching for us.”

Two of Greenville’s offensive leaders from last year also return.

“Ryan Smith is back at shortstop for us, and Hunter Harrell is catching,” Horn said. “They led us in batting in a couple of categories.”

The Tigers are in a region with Monroe County High School and Wilcox-Central, and Horn is already looking to a couple of showdowns with MCHS as important.

“We play them down there and then have a double-header the next day up here,” he said. “Whoever wins two of those three games will probably win the region.”

Despite the youth of the team, Horn said leadership won’t be a problem.

“Our juniors were sophomores last year, so they had to learn then, and they’re all eager to play,” he said. “We haven’t had any problems. We’ve got a chance to be really good for the next several years.”

The Tigers open at home against Luverne on Thursday, and the game time has been moved to 3 p.m.