Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Sports

January 30, 2014

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Time to get to work

AHS ready to defend District 15-3A title, make another postseason trip

Athens — A regional quarterfinal appearance last year under coach Dallas Robertson has the Athens Hornets wanting more in 2014.

The Hornets wrapped up the season with an overall record of 19-17 and 7-3 in District 15-3A play with a district title.

Robertson said the road will be tough in their final year in District 15-3A to defend the title from last year.

“It is not going to be easy by any means,” Robertson said. “I think the district will be tougher this year. Everybody is going to be coming for you and it will be a challenge for us this year.”

Robertson said his first year at the helm showed him a lot about his athletes.

“I contribute our success to their commitment for the style of play that we wanted to play,” Robertson said. “We asked a bunch of things out of the guys and they played hard.”

This season, the Hornets return eight starters to the lineup led by last year’s District Most Valuable Player and Athens Review All-Henderson County Player of the Year in junior Travis Takata.

Robertson will also return senior infielder Adam Stallings — who was named a all-state player by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association and Texas Sports Writers Association — along with senior infielder and pitcher Garrett Conley.

First baseman Lance Funkhouser returns along with outfielders Jessie Taylor, Josh Darden, Daniel Mossberger and Allen Jones.

“I expect a lot of these returning guys to pick up where we left off last year,” Robertson said. “They have  done a lot for us through the off season and I think there should not be any difference this year.”

One position that could see a lot of different players step up throughout the season will be in the pitching rotation.

The coaching staff of Robertson, Rickey Brooks and Aaron Carroll will have Takata, Conley, Stallings, Esteban Chairez, Jack Amheiser, Josh Darden and Adam Stallings competing to become the pitchers during the season.

Another position where a competition could ensue during the season is at catcher as Gabe Gross graduated from last year’s team.

“We have Brandon Boyd at catcher and several other guys that can do it for us,” Robertson said. “We also have Landon Bynum who has been doing some work back there during the off season.”

With the scrimmage portion starting on Monday night at Palestine, Robertson said this is the most important part of the season for him as a coach.

“That is where we evaluate the most and we take the scrimmages very seriously,” Robertson said. “I want to see us play our style of ball is which is hard and aggressive.”

The Hornets are scheduled to have scrimmages at home against Lindale on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m., and wrap up the scrimmages at Crandall on Feb. 11 and at Eustace on Feb. 15.

Robertson said with this being their final year in the district with Canton, Van, Brownsboro, Mineola and Mabank, he expects the Hornets to have the same goals they had last year.

“I expect us to compete for a district championship and make a playoff spot this year,” Robertson said.

Below is the schedule for the 2014 Athens Hornets.

Date    Opponent    Time

F3    @Palestine Scrimmage    6 p.m.

F7    Lindale Scrimmage    6:30 p.m.

F11    @Crandall Scrimmage    7 p.m.

F15    @Eustace Scrimmage    Noon

F20-22    @Palestine Tournament

F24    Eustace    7 p.m.

F27-M1    @Lindale Tournament

M4    @Kaufman    7 p.m.

M6-8     @Princeton Tournament

M11    Emory Rains    1 p.m.

M14    Princeton    1 p.m.

M18    *@ Canton    6:30 p.m.

M21    *@ Van    6:30 p.m.

M25    *Mabank     6:30 p.m.

M28    *@ Mineola    6:30 p.m.

A4    *Brownsboro    6:30 p.m.

A8    *Canton    6:30 p.m.

A11    *Van    6:30 p.m.

A15    *@ Mabank    6:30 p.m.

A17    *Mineola    6:30 p.m.

A24    *@ Brownsboro    6:30 p.m.

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