By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer
If the French Camp Academy Panthers are gong to go deep into the MHSAA 1A State Baseball Playoffs this season it will be on the backs of their seniors, with the duo of Hagan Box and Cole Henson at the forefront.
“We lost a couple good leaders last year in Ben Hosket and Andrew Stevens and we will be looking for some other guys to step into that role this season,” said FCA head baseball coach Nathan Wright. “We have a lot of underclassmen we will be looking for to help us, but we also have some seniors who haven’t gotten a lot of playing time who will have a chance to step up for us.”
Among the seniors who have had plenty of playing time and have been key cogs for the Panthers since they were eighth and ninth graders are Box and Henson.
“Cole and Hagan are our leaders and we expect to have to lean on them throughout the season,” Wright said. “They will also do most of our pitching.” Both Henson and Box have already signed to play baseball with Itawamba Community College next season.
Also looking to see action on the mound are the trio of Brady Jackson, Jeremy Lowery and Brooks Warren.
French Camp is set to open its season Saturday at East Webster, before taking on Eupora, Noxapater and Water Valley the next week.
“We still have a lot of positions open and some people who are playing basketball that are expected to help us,” he said. “We are going to give a lot of the seniors the first shot, but we have a lot of people who may get a chance.”
Going into the season it looks like Jackson and Lowery will be behind the plate with Travis Henning at first, Hunter McKnight at second and Box or Henson at shortstop and Colt Trehern at third.
The outfield is expected to have Luke McKnight in left, Michael Erving in center and Hunter Vaughn in right.
Wright said his team may not have a lot of power and will have to find different ways to win games.
“We will do whatever we can do to win,” he said. “We are not real fast as a team, but we have some guys who can run. Right now we aren’t hitting the ball as well as we would like to do, but we will focus on getting base hits, moving guys around and mixing things up.”
The Panthers play in the same district as Ethel, McAdams and Sebastopol.