Saving the best for last the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears went on an incredible run at the end of the 2016 season. The Bears won a play-in game and then advanced all the way to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.
One of the key players in that stretch late last year was Michael Lee, and Coach Steve Griffith is happy to have Lee back. Lee is playing for the Bears at catcher and third base. “We’re looking for Michael to be kind of that lead horse. He’s kind of the bell cow, team leader, and you’re always really glad if you can have a guy like Michael Lee on your team.” Griffith professed.
The coach has several other Bears back from last season. One of the top two pitchers for LC-M last year Slade Green is returning and should be a big part of the team’s success this season. Truman Franklin hit well during the stretch run and is expected to produce a lot of runs batted in. Seth Dronett played a lot of games in left field and should be back out there again. Griffith observed, “We’ve got a few guys back.”
LC-M has a number of young Bears that will be battling for starting positions on the varsity for Coach Griffith. John Beeson is doing a good job to earn the starting shortstop spot. Limited to defensive duties last season Jordan Alexander could be batting leadoff in 2017. Chris Winters did not play baseball last year, but in his first at bat this month against another team he hit a homerun. Taylor Gilbert had a double and pitched one shutout inning in that first scrimmage. “He’s another name to be listening for this year.” Griffith advised.
Hitting has traditionally been a strong point for the Bears, and Griffith is looking for LC-M to swing the bats well again. The three and four holes in the lineup should be filled quite nicely by two guys that can hit the ball a long way with Lee and Franklin. His position in the batting order has not been determined, but Winters could also provide some power for the Bears.
Coach Griffith is counting on Green to lead the Bears pitching staff this season. Slade did a great job as only a sophomore last year and will be the guy LC-M leans on during the current season. Peyton Logsdon and Gilbert both pitched well in their one inning during the first Bears’ scrimmage. Griffith reported, “Seven of our eight pitchers gave up one or less runs, so we felt good about our first night out.”
As last season proved making the playoffs in District 22-4A is difficult, but once in the playoffs district representatives are tough to beat. Griffith is hoping for a repeat of that history for this season at Little Cypress-Mauriceville. Just like in the past the coach states you have to strategically pick who you go after in the difficult district games to ensure making the playoffs. “As coaches we do our best to line up our pitching staff in the right order to help our team get in and that’s what we’ll do,” Griffith promised.