Patriots counting on core players on diamond this year

By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal

Making out a line-up, at least the names on it, won’t be that hard for Winston Academy head baseball coach Cory Burns this season.

“We really only have got nine varsity players this year,” Burn said. “We bring up a few other guys to have on the bench in case we need them, but it’s really nine or 10 who will do most of the playing.

“If we play sound defense and our pitchers throw strikes we are believing we can find a way to manufacture some runs.,” Burns said. “We have six guys who will do most of the pitching and they are all even.”

The pitching staff will be made up of seniors Kenny Wright, Rylee Pearson, Taylor Moody, and D.K. Boydstun, as well as junior Reed McCool and freshman Peyton Allen.

Moody will handle things behind the pate, while Pearson is at first, junior Bradley Stapleton is as second, McCool at short and Allen at third. Junior Carter Lane Jones is in left, with junior Logan Webb in center and Boydstun in right.

When not pitching Wright will see time at first and behind the plate, while Allen can play third, short and second. Eighth grader Jesse Boydstun will play some in right and behind the plate.

“We are not going to hit much got power,” Burns said. “We will rely on base hits. We play pretty good defense and have some team speed. We are going to rely on small ball — get the lead off man on and move him to second.”

He said when the pitchers keep the ball low, it helps keep the defense make plays. “When we do that we do a pretty good job of fielding the ball,” Burns said.

The Patriots won their first two games of the season by defeating Starkville Academy 10-4 and Benton Academy 7-6. WA split two games last week, falling to Heritage 7-0 on Tuesday before bouncing back to blank Kirk Academy 10-0 on Thursday.

The Patriots were set to open league play by visiting Leake on Tuesday, then hosting the Rebels on Thursday. WA hosts non-league foe Heritage on Friday, before taking part in the Benton Tournament on Monday and Tuesday.

Wright pitched a four-hit shutout for Winston in the win over Kirk, while striking out four and allowing just one walk in five innings of work.

The Patriots led 2-0 after four innings of play before striking for eight runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game by the run rule. Allen led the winners with three singles, two runs scored and an RBI, while Moody had a double and single and two RBIs. McCool, Pearson, Webb and D.K. Boydstun had a hit each for WA, while Wright and Pearson drove in two runs each.

Jones had Winston’s lone hit in the loss to Heritage.