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Liberty seeing youth; talent for spring
Baseball, track and field gearing up
Among the young guns LCHS baseball coach Steve Cottrell is counting on are (l-r) Erik Mattingly, Paul Davis, Robert Walsh, Aaron Hoffer and Justin Eaton. - photo by Photo by John Deike
With spring quickly approaching, various Liberty County High School teams, including the baseball and track teams, are gearing up for what should be a promising and exciting season for 2007.
Steve Cotrell, the Panthers varsity baseball coach, is confident that his mostly young, but talented team can outperform the tough opponents they will face as their season commences against Wayne County on Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m.
“We are going to have a lot of sophomores and juniors playing, but I believe it is the most talent we have had in a while. I know the nine guys we will have on the field will be able to play some competitive baseball,” Cotrell explained.
He was very hopeful of his pitching roster composed of four players who will be able to sling the ball into the middle and upper 80 mile per hour range.
Two of these pitching hopefuls are Skyler and Aaron Hoffer who will not disappoint the crowd as Skyler will be the starting pitcher and as Aaron will finish games as the closer.  
In spite of the Panthers losing a tie breaker that would have taken them to the regional playoffs last season, Cotrell was pleased with the way they performed in 2006 because it gave his team experience and shed light on what they needed to improve upon.
“In terms of the infield this year, I hope we can make some more routine plays. We had some great defense, but it is important to keep our play consistent this year to give us an advantage,” Cotrell said.
Cotrell looks forward to playing such rivals as South Effingham, Benedictine, Burke County and Richmond Hill, but he emphasized that South Effingham was the team to beat.  
According to Cotrell, they have a lot of skill, and it is just a matter of polishing that skill to have them perform well on the field.  

Track and field
For track and field, second year boys coach Keith McGee is optimistic due to some able runners who can make a difference this year.
Yet, McGee wanted to emphasize how important his new coaching staff is as he brings on assistant coach Emery Vickers and first year girl’s coach Laura Means.  
“The best addition to our team this year is coach Vickers.  He graduated from here, he was a legend while here, he ran college track and he has a good way with the kids,” McGee said.
He and Vickers are ready to see how a few key runners perform, especially sophomore Roderick Jones who is expected to break 11 seconds in the 100-meter.
“Really, I just think we have a lot of hard working kids on the team, and hard work can take you further than just a little bit of ability,” Vickers said.
Other hopefuls from McGee’s lineup include Demitrius Stenson who may break 50 seconds in the 400 meter, along with Keith Lemay, Tim Ashman and Chris Cary who will round out a competitive four by four team.  
“As last year was my first season with the Panthers track team after leaving Arizona, I realized it would be a transitional time,’ McGee said.  “To make some corrections, we implemented a set amount of practices so the team can be prepared for their first meet on Friday February 23.”
Coach Means is getting her girls ready for the 23rd and she explained that, “I’m just looking forward to how far our girls get, and how hard they work to achieve their goals for the upcoming meets.”
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