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Youthful Ola baseball squad mastering learning curve
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
April 03, 2013 08:41 AM | 1020 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Staff / 
Katherine Frye
Ola sophomore, Cale Gibson, throws to a teammate during a game against Whitewater.
Staff / Katherine Frye Ola sophomore, Cale Gibson, throws to a teammate during a game against Whitewater.
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Ola skipper Beau Edwards isn’t used to having this many pups in the club house.

The 2012-13 Mustangs are young by necessity, though.

Still, the squad had compiled an impressive record — 12-4 overall; 7-4 in Region 4-AAAAA — heading into Spring Break.

Guess those energetic bat-swinging lads aren’t that wet behind the ears, after all.

“We have a lot of young guys in there — we have had to replace a couple of good seniors from last year and are having to rely on the young guys for leadership,” said Edwards. “This differs from years past because we’ve seemed to always have a lot of juniors and seniors.”

Ola’s roster boasts multiple combinations of upper- and underclassman impact players on both sides of the plate.

Sophomore Carter Perkins is hitting .500 with four homeruns and 23 RBI. Meanwhile, senior teammate Patric Sanders is batting .386 with two homers and 11 RBI.

That offensive output aside, Edwards acknowledged that pitching is his ball club’s strength.

“We have four to five guys we can throw out there at any time,” said the Mustangs coach. “And they all throw strikes and have pretty good command.”

Two of the aces in that rotation are putting up numbers that back up those claims.

Senior hurler Tanner Barfield is 3-1, with a 3.00 ERA and 40 strikeouts over 22 innings of work. Sophomore Jaret Hellinger is 5-0, with a 32 K’s and a 2.17 ERA through 19-plus innings on the mound.

Ola will look to ride those rocket arms the rest of the way.

The Mustangs are only two games out of first place, but are technically in sixth place in the standings.

They’re currently looking up at current leader McIntosh, followed by Whitewater, Starr’s Mill, Union Grove and Northgate.

While taking it one game at a time may seem cliché, life in an ultra-competitive region dictates that teams fall in line with that approach. Otherwise, you could very well find yourself on the outside looking in.

“Every game counts — our region’s that tough,” said Edwards. “There are seven to eight teams battling for four spots.

“I could see all four spots coming down to the last week of the season … you could be in first place on Monday and sixth place on Friday.”
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