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Springtime bats in full swing
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Field goals and lay-ups are stepping aside for mitts and bats as the 2008 baseball season gets underway.
Scrimmages are already scheduled for the Bradwell Tigers and the Liberty County Panthers in the next two weeks. Both high schools are getting prepared for the tough season of ball.

Liberty County Panthers
Baseball coach Steve Cottrell said depth is something his team has plenty of this season, especially as it relates to the pitchers.
“We have a ton of arms,” he said. “We are probably eight or nine deep where I can stick anyone of them in there at any time. The positive thing is three or four of those are very young guys so we will have them for a while.”
With a little more than a week of full practice behind them, Cottrell said he has a pretty good idea of who is on his varsity squad and who made the junior varsity. There are a few positions that are not quite sealed.
“There are still a few positions that the kids will battle it out for and even then it may be a revolving door until we get to region play,” Cottrell said. “Hopefully by the time we get to region play there will be somebody there with a little more consistency.”
The Panthers have seven and possible eight returning starters from last season. Cottrell said he has eight seniors returning although not all eight may be starters.
“The nucleus is here,” he said. “The good thing is some of these kids have been starting with us for the last two or three years.”
As Cottrell sizes up the competition he knows the team to knock down is still South Effingham.
“Skill-wise and talent-wise we match up with the others,” he said. “But the difference between us and South Effingham, for now, is believing we can win when we play against them. They are the top dogs and when you are the top dog until you get knocked off you are still top dog.”

Bradwell Tigers
Back for another year at the Tigers’ helm, Rhett Hellgren said the main difference in this year’s squad is their new positive attitude.
“I don’t know if it’s a strategy,” he said, “it’s just the overall attitude of the young men I have this year is much better. We are more disciplined, enthusiastic, and they are all about doing the right thing.
The Tigers have four returning seniors this year and three juniors who played on the varsity last year.
“We have Steven Dill who is a junior this year,” Hellgren added. “He pitched for us as a freshman and sophomore and maybe number one at the mound this year. Kentrell Hargrove looks to be our number two guy and we also have DeAnte Day at the mound.
Hellgren said that could all change because it is still early in the season.
The Tigers have a tough region and the powerhouse title for the last few years continues to be Camden, but Hellgren feels his squad is not too far behind.
“The strongest in our region is Camden with Jenkins, Groves and us fighting just behind them.”
His junior varsity squad has some freshmen who Hellgren believes have talent good enough to develop into varsity players fairly quickly.
There are a few Tiger players who play more than one sport in school. Hellgren feels this helps.
“When you have some of these kid who play more than one sport it’s good for any program because they are already athletic,” he said. “They are not just baseball players they can do other things and I think it helps out overall. I’m excited this year compared to last year.  Whether we win or lose more games remains to be seen.”
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