Coach: Tyler Trover
2016 record: 17-14
Starters lost: 2
Returning starters: 4
Assignment: Class 3, District 1
Notes: With a new head coach at the helm and two senior leaders to replace, the Portageville Bulldogs hope four returners and a roster full of young potential can help them build to a district title.
Tyler Trover, who takes over for former coach Zach McDaniel, comes from Bloomfield and has started to find his footing with his new team.
"Anytime you are in the first year with a different system there are going to be some learning curbs," Trover said. "We are trying to speed that process up. The biggest thing for me is coming from Bloomfield and having fall baseball we were able to implement things throughout the fall. We have less time to implement the core of our stuff so it is just trying to get them understanding the details. It is a work in progress."
The Bulldogs lost their leading hitter and one of its stronger arms to graduation.
Jon Garrett Kellams, who signed with Mineral Area College in August of last year, posted a .455 batting average with 48 RBIs and two home runs. They also lost Tyler Daugherty, who finished with a 6-3 pitching record and a 2.48 ERA in 50.1 innings. Daugherty signed with Morthland College in July of last year.
Although those roles are up for grabs, the Bulldogs might have the players to take over.
Portageville, who finished 17-14 last season and lost 5-4 to district champion NMCC, who moved up to Class 4 this year, returns four seniors who provided much of the Bulldogs' production.
"We are really going to put a lot of pressure on our upperclassmen to provide the leadership that it takes to build a successful program that is able to have continued success," Trover said. "Our ultimate goal each and every year is to win a district championship. It takes an uncommon program, uncommon team, with uncommon individuals to do that. Details are what are going to take us to the next level, and if our kids will understand that the ceiling on this group could be very high."
Nicholes Allred returns after posting a .445 batting average, 49 hits and 33 RBIs last season. Ryan Priggel batted .383 with 38 runs and an on-base percentage of .488. Hunter Gates added a .383 average, 41 hits and 31 runs scored.
"The top half of our order, with the exception of Jon Garrett Kellams, is returning and all had nice years at the plate last year," Trover said. "If we will continue to take quality at-bats we have the potential to score some runs."
Ian Torrey will look to lead Portageville's pitching rotation after posting a 5-0 record with a 2.73 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 41 innings last year.
Behind Torrey, Trover believes he will have possibly eight options he can go to on the mound which will be a necessity with the new pitch count rules that limits pitches according to grade and rest days.
"I really like our pitching depth," said Trover. "It's nice to have seven to eight options, especially with the new pitch count rules. What we need though is growth. We must throw strikes and challenge hitters. We have to understand the situation and learn how to pitch to contact. Coach [Lee] Wallace has taken over as pitching coach and has done a fantastic job with the implementation of a program. This keeps our kids fresh and on a schedule that we hope will help the results and protect arms."
Portageville, who won last year's Malden Invitational Tournament, will be in a district with Caruthersville, Charleston, East Prairie, Kelly and Scott City. The district tournament will be play at Charleston High School.
"If everyone will put this program before themselves we could have a lot of fun this spring," Trover said. "We need to utilize our depth and be able to settle into roles. We have a lot of kids that can make contributions to this team but the understanding has to be there that it might not be exactly what role they like. Acceptance and putting our program first could make it a great year for us."
|M.18||v. Charleston||11 a.m.|
|M.18||v. Puxico||2 p.m.|
|M.20||at Hayti||4:30 p.m.|
|M.24||at Bernie||4:30 p.m.|
|M.25||v. Caruthersville||1 p.m.|
|A.1||v. Cape Central||TBA|
|A.4||at Gideon||4:30 p.m.|
|A.10||at Holcomb||6 p.m.|
|A.11||at Oran||4:30 p.m.|
|A.13||at South Pemiscot||6 p.m.|
|A.18||Twin Rivers||4:30 p.m.|
|A.25||at Senath-Hornersville||6 p.m.|
|A.27||East Prairie||4:30 p.m.|
|A.29||Bootheel Conference Tourn.||TBA|
|M.8||at Dexter||4:30 p.m.|