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Andrew Jackson Academy High School
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Josh Mitchum Takes Over as Head Baseball Coach At Andrew Jackson Academy With A Goal Of improving With Each game & Practice

By Billy G. Baker

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Ehrhardt---Josh Mitchum played high school baseball at Berkeley High School for fundamentally focused perfectionist head coach Landy Cox, a two time HSSR all-state player out of Stratford High, so when Mitchum decided to leave Dorchester Academy after back-to-back SCISA Class A state titles in 2018 and 2019, with his move to Andrew Jackson Academy, some people were surprised.

“I needed a change and the more I looked into the program at Andrew Jackson Academy the more I could see the people here were really committed to building a winning program and the varsity team had only been back in existence for two seasons and Jon Schaffer had done a really good job of getting it off the ground and pointed in the right direction,” said Coach Mitchum. “I honesty don’t know if we are a state championship team this season but we as players and coaches are committed to improving with each game, and at every practice, and we are focused on being a fundamentally sound team.

“If a team focuses on steady improvement then I think we can be in the final four teams in SCISA A baseball by the end of the season and that would be a great goal for this first season,” said Coach Mitchum who was 40-7 with two state titles his final two seasons at DA. “We want to become a state title contender every year in SCISA Class A baseball.”

The Confederates will have two solid pitchers at the top of the pitching rotation in Francis Marion signee Adam Creswell, a transfer from Wade Hampton (H) this season along with senior righty Bryce Hughes who Coach Mitchum calls “His Hammer” on the mound. Creswell has a mid-80’s fastball and good command of his curve and change-up. Hughes has good control on his 82-84 mph fastball and in 50-plus innings last year he had only 24 walks all season.

 Creswell will be the lead-off batter and he can catch or play shortstop when he is not pitching. Hughes will bat clean-up for AJA. He has been moved from second to third base. “I will put him 10 feet in front of a batter we feel is bunting,” said Coach Mitchum. “We trust him to make the play.”

Sophomore Bug Brunson will be a strong number three in the pitching rotation. “Bug is a dedicated baseball player and he is very relaxed, and he does what he needs to do to win,” said Coach Mitchum. “He also has freaky raw hitting power and he had 8 or 9 home runs last season.” Brunson will bat in the two hole and play shortstop when he is not pitching.

Senior Chandler Hayden (R-L) is the only left-handed batter on the team and he will hit in the 5 slot. “We have moved Chandler from first over to second and he does a great job communicating the cut-off throws from the outfield,” said Coach Mitchum. “He is also a very good catcher and he will catch Creswell when he pitches for us.”

Due to several rainouts the team had yet to play a game through March 5th. Coach Mitchum said the batting order six through nine could change from game to game. Some of the strong candidates competing for these hitting slots include freshman Evan Creswell in the 6th hole and he will be brought along as a pitcher and a catcher. Sophomore Landon O’Neil could bat in the 7th position and he could develop into a good pitcher or catcher this season.

Senior outfielder Colyn Peek is likely to bat in the 8th position and Coach Mitchum said he is very focused and hard to rattle. Trey Pulaski is a speedy center fielder who will bat in the 9 hole and Coach Mitchum said Pulaski can play all three outfield positions.

One pitching strategy Coach Mitchum used very effectively at DA was to start a number three or four pitcher in a big game, hope to get a solid three innings of work from them, then bring in your number one or two as the closer and dominate your opponent. Kevin Barnes is also going to figure into the pitching rotation and play third some. Chase Carson will also pitch some and play in the outfield.

The team is carrying 17 total players this season. They include newcomer first baseman Mikey Templeton, senior first baseman Ethan Graves, senior Bryce Waltz is at second and the outfield and junior Ryan Brown is a very good base runner. Reese Donahue is a freshman outfielder who transferred in from Wade Hampton. James Mingo is a first- year baseball player who was an all-state player on the basketball team this season. Mingo is expected to play left field and he is coming along well for a first-time player.

The team hopes to get on a dry field against rival Jefferson Davis Academy on Tuesday March 10. The team had a scrimmage scheduled against Branchville on Friday, March 6 but wet weather might have cancelled that event. The season that was supposed to start with games against Holly Hill Academy and St. Johns Christian in early March were post-poned due to wet fields. The game with Holly Hill Academy has been rescheduled for April 6.

Coach Mitchum is assisted by Jon Schaffer and Scott Brunson.

 

Coach Barnes Proud Of School Record 29 Wins From Boys Basketball Team

Summerton—Finishing with a school record 29-7 record, and the Class A state runner-up trophy for SCISA Class A boy’s head coach josh Barnes said he was very proud of his team’s accomplishments during the 2019-20 season.

The team was le din scoring at 19.2 points and 5.9 rebounds a game by senior James Mingo. Talented sophomore Mikey Templeton has a promising future and the lanky athlete averaged a double-double at 15.9 points and 10.1 rebounds a game. Templeton is also an outstanding football player as well.

Senior Chandler Hayden had an outstanding senior season averaging 12.2 points, 7/9 rebounds and an eye popping 4.9 assists a game. Hyden would like nothing more than to be invited to walk on the basketball team at Francis Marion College.

Three sport athlete sophomore Jonathan Schaffer averaged 12.6 points an 8.2 rebounds a game. Schaffer is an all-state anethole in football, basketball and baseball. The 6-2, 218-pound athlete is rated highest as a football player.

“We are losing 8 seniors and all of them were good contributors to the success of the program.” Said Coach Barnes. “We have several good sophomores returning next year including Jeb Fickling who improved so much from the start to the end of the season. We hope to keep building the program and we took giant steps forward with this team that played so hard this season.”

A few other seniors graduating include guards Colin Peek, Trey Pulaski, Drake Mathias and baseball prospect Bryce Hughes.

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