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Numbers may favor baseball Tigers in 2011
Bradwell Institute baseball coach Rhett Helgren gives directions during a recent practice. BI opens the season March 1. - photo by Photo by John Wood

If numbers amount to success, Bradwell Institute may be on its way to diamond greatness.

The Tigers opened preseason baseball practice with 40 players on three different teams.

"This is the first team in five years that we have been able to field a freshman, junior varsity and varsity. I am really excited about the season," Bradwell baseball coach Rhett Hellgren said.

Hellgren also has a veteran coaching staff. Pete Woodard, Jeff Eastlake and Eric Lukaranien have been with the program in past seasons.

The Tigers added first-year Bradwell teacher Mike Stanford and Pat Sammons to the staff.

In past campaigns, the Tigers had to pitch by committee at times, but Hellgren has enough depth this spring for a possible four-to-five man rotation.

"Senior Jacob Dill will be the workhorse of the staff. He will get a lot of innings and probably work in a variety of capacities from starting to working some relief when needed. He will definitely be our go-to guy," Hellgren said.

Eric Wells and left-hander Chris Rafferty, a transfer from Liberty County, are expected to contribute on the mound.

Offensively, the Tigers hope to be able to give the jitters to opposing pitching staffs. Bradwell had four players who recorded a time of seven seconds or less in the 60 yard run. Coaches hope the increased speed will allow the Tigers to create havoc on the base paths, but they’ll have to get on base first.

Bradwell also expects to have solid senior leadership this year as well from catcher Josh Driggers and first baseman Garrett McCorkle.

Benedictine returns to Region 3-AAAAA, which also includes newly-formed Islands High School. In recent years Jenkins High School in Savannah and Camden County have been the teams to beat in the region.

"Our expectations are very high this season. We have had really good support from the community," Hellgren said.

Bradwell opens the season at home March 1 against Brunswick.

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