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Lake View High School

Lake View’s Herlong preaching patience in 2019


By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Lake View – While there will be several new faces on the field this spring, the expectations for the Lake View High baseball program remain the same.

The program has established itself as one of the top two or three programs in Class A, thus expectations of contending for a state championship are at the top of the list every year.

Championship teams take a little time and patience to build and veteran coach Kip Herlong says showing some patience this spring will be important.

Herlong knows something about winning. He earned career win 500 last season and has led the program to seven state titles and three state runner-ups.

The 2019 Lake View team begins this season with a level of inexperience not felt in recent years. The coach sees plenty of talent and potential but realizes the process at hand is a going to be an extended one.

“We have lost a lot of seniors over the last two years so those kids, and their experience, is tough to replace,” said Herlong, now in his 26th season at Lake View. “With this team, it’s just day to day improvement that we are looking for. We have some new faces out there and there will be some growing pains. We just have to make sure we are getting better each day.

“I’m patient with this group. We have some talent. Hopefully as we gain some experience and develop some chemistry that will translate into success. We’ll work at it, that’s for sure.”

Lake View’s early progress resulted in a 5-4 start, including a 2-0 start in region play. The Wild Gators, as one might expect, have yet to find the consistency in performance, but the effort is there.

“We’re still trying to figure ourselves out a little,” Herlong said. “This team has a lot of potential. We aren’t so concerned with being great out of the gate and then fizzle in the middle. We’re trying a lot of stuff, different combinations. We know we have great kids who will work hard. Hopefully that means we will improve as we go.”

Three seniors will lead the way this spring as the coach looks for his upperclassmen to bring the younger players along. Senior Jordan King is returning behind the plate. Peyton Jackson and Jett Lewis will work at first and will be two of the team’s main pitchers.

“We have to have good leadership and those three guys will be up to the task,” Herlong says. “Like me, they have to be patient too.”

Pitching will hopefully be a strength, says Herlong. Junior Hunter Herlong and sophomore Thomas Skipper also will see extensive work on the mound.

“We don’t have the real strikeout threat but they throw strikes for the most part,” the coach said. “We’ll have to defend well and make the routine plays. But our pitchers will compete and give us a chance.”

Herlong will man third base when not on the mound while Skipper works defensively at shortstop. Sophomore Addarion Dawkins is a first-year starter at second and is very solid defensively. Herlong feels Dawkins will eventually be a solid contributor at the plate as well.

Eighth-grader Tyler James is a first-year starter in left field and junior Hunter Tart is a first-year varsity starter in right. Senior Caleb Andrews occupies center but is playing baseball for the first time since playing in 2017.

“We’re moving guys around defensively, trying to find what works best,” Herlong said.

Offensively, the Wild Gators appear to be solid near the top of the batting order. Herlong says King, Jackson, Skipper, Herlong and Lewis will have to lead the way offensively. Lewis already has 11 RBI this season but even he has yet to catch fire consistently.

“We’ve been okay at times but different guys have struggled some as well,” the coach said. “We just have to keep swinging and make good contact. The ball will fall eventually. Avoid strikeouts and put the ball in play.”

Herlong expects Green Sea-Floyds to be the team to beat in region 6-A this spring. The two teams met for the first time on March 22. With only one other school (Creek Bridge) in the region fielding a team, Lake View has scheduled a competitive non-region slate of games to aid in the improvement process. The Wild Gators play East Clarendon, Dillon, Hannah-Pamplico and Marion in their non-region schedule. Hannah-Pamplico is the defending Class A Lower State champion and East Clarendon is expected to be strong in AA.

“We have had to beef up the schedule and it will really test us,” Herlong said. “It’s good for the kids to see good competition. We’d like to win them all but as long as we show steady improvement and compete hard, we will take whatever happens.”

Softball ready to make a run

Lake View softball coach Brandy Huggins has 10 returning players to her squad this spring but only two are seniors. The starting seniors this spring will be outfielders Savannah Church and Kryston James, likely in left and right, respectively.

Junior Alex Elliott returns as the starter at third while junior Kaylee Herlong starts at first base. Junior Milashia Wheeler will work at second and as the designated hitter. Freshman Spivey Evans and seventh-grader Raven Locklear are working at shortstop. Evans also could work at second and behind the plate.

Locklear will be one of three pitchers getting work in the circle this season, along with freshman Grace Floyd and seventh-grader Emma King. Another seventh-grader, Baxleigh Arnette, is getting work at catcher and shortstop.

Freshmen Bailey Miller, Becca Cox and Zandasia McNeil will see playing time in the outfield.

“We have been working several defenses behind each of our pitchers,” Huggins said. “They embrace the changes and work hard at each position they are put. We are taking one game at a time and working to improve with each game.”




© 2017 High School Sports Report

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