But that movement is over, and for the first time in three years the Hornets will hit the diamond this season with a roster ripe with senior talent.
“We have a big senior class with 11 kids that have gotten a lot of experience and a lot of at-bats on the varsity level,” said Roswell head coach Mike Power. “The offseason and the first few weeks of practice have gone really well because of that, and it’s exciting to see this team mature and these kids develop into leaders.”
Power’s team went 11-13 in 2011 and 14-12 last season — but fell a win short of the state playoffs with a 5-7 region record. Leading the returners from those two squads are third-year starters Syd Hopkins, Connor Johnstone, Matt Meeder and Drew Davis.
Hopkins (a Georgia Tech signee) and Johnstone (Wake Forest) will provide a formidable 1-2 punch on the mound. Davis, a catcher signed with Kennesaw State, and Meeder, a shortstop signed with Mercer, will anchor the Hornets’ defense — which Power expects to be critical in a region 5AAAAAA filled with powerhouse programs and highly-touted pitching prospects.
“This region is going to be really tough, and really balanced with very good teams. We know we are going to see a lot of really good pitching because everyone, including us, seems to have a couple of ACC or SEC arms.”
“We are still in a phase right now where we have kids battling for a few jobs, but I think we have a good chance to compete [in 5AAAAAA]. We have 10 games before conference play starts to figure those things out, and then hopefully we’ll be playing our best ball for region play.”
Power noted that Adam Terrinoni will start in centerfield with Zach Hald rounding out the defensive core at second base. The Hornets will receive an added boost from Lawson Dunkin returning to left field after knee surgery and names like Alex Dickerson, Austin Krzeminski and others will battle for the remaining at-bats in what Power labeled a potent lineup with a deep stable of bats.
“We’ve always been a good small ball team but with some stronger more mature kids I’m hoping we can develop into a power hitting group that can hit some gaps.”
The Hornets will open their season in the Georgia Dugout Club Tournament this weekend, hosting games on Friday against Redan and Saturday versus Greenbrier.