Piedmont has 16 varsity players as Matt Deerman begins his second season as head baseball coach. The Bulldogs will have six seniors. Cole Chasteen will play third base, DH and pitch on occasion. Christian Doss is an outfielder. First baseman Drake Deerman returns to baseball after a two-year layoff. Bailey Graves will play in right field and pitch. Taylor Morrow is a shortstop-pitcher who may also be called on to play third base. Davis Young, who will play first base and catcher.
The six juniors are outfielder-pitcher Solomon Doss, center fielder T.J. Fairs, catcher-outfielder-pitcher Nick Johnson, second baseman and pitcher Mason Mohon, outfielder Layton New and pitcher-outfielder Logan Pruitt. Pruitt can also play the corner infield positions.
Sophomore Brant Deerman can play second, short and third in the infield, any outfield position and will also be available to pitch. Classmate Silas Thompson is a first baseman-pitcher-outfielder. The two freshmen are outfielder Jakari Foster and first baseman-third baseman-pitcher Sean Smith.
Deerman said Tuesday he felt he had identified his top four pitchers, although in no particular order, as Graves, Mohon, Morrow and Pruitt.
“There’s not a whole lot of difference in the top four,” Deerman said. “All those guys threw really well this past week. Very pleased with them.”
Deerman also noted that positions in the field aren’t etched in stone as yet.
“We’ve got really good competition for infield and outfield. I think we’ve got more guys that can contribute than we’ve ever had before,” Deerman said. “We’ve got a lot to decide between now and Pleasant Valley in three weeks.”
The Bulldogs open their Class 3A, Area 10 schedule against Pleasant Valley at home Mar. 20 and go to Pleasant Valley on Mar. 22 for a Tuesday-Thursday home-and-home series.
Piedmont opened Thursday at Wellborn and won 15-1 in five innings. Pruitt started and fanned three while allowing three hits and one earned run in 2.2 innings. Mohon gave up two hits and a walk with three strikeouts in two innings. Morrow got the final out on a strikeout.
Chasteen singled three times, scored twice and drove in a run. Mohon had two hits, including a two-run home run in the fourth. He got a third RBI in the fifth when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Morrow double and singled in two official at-bats and was hit by a pitch. Graves, Young and Brant Deerman each had one hit. Deerman and Mohon scored three runs apiece. Morrow joined Chasteen in scoring twice.
The Bulldogs played Ramsay of Birmingham and Cherokee County in a doubleheader at Centre on Saturday. Batting as the visitors, Piedmont led the Rams 4-0 after two innings and 4-3 after three. Ramsay made it 4-4 in the fourth then scored eight runs in the fifth. Each team got two runs in the sixth.
Morrow worked the first three innings and allowed one earned run on three hits with five strikeouts. Young finished with two singles in four at-bats. Chasteen, Morrow and Brant Deerman each had one hit. Morrow drove in three runs. Graves and Fairs each scored two runs.
After the disappointing loss to Ramsay, the Bulldogs defeated Cherokee County 3-2. Graves worked all seven innings. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.