Brownstown, Crothersville set for opening day this week


Among the things Duane Higgs and Eric Hilton like about their baseball teams are depth and versatility.

Higgs is beginning his first season as head coach at Brownstown Central, while Hilton is in his second season at Crothersville.

Higgs, who was an assistant baseball coach at Bedford North Lawrence for the past six seasons, is working with five seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and eight freshmen.

“The thing I have enjoyed about coming here is I’m not reteaching the game of baseball,” Higgs said. “Coach (Brandon) Tormoehlen did a great job, had a great program and taught the game at a high level.

“So now, it’s about putting my flair into it, my terminology, my style. I think a lot of them just understand it’s about picking up a few things, so I’m really looking forward to working with these guys.”

Higgs said senior Ethan Davis and junior Cristos McCormick will be at the top of his pitching rotation.

“I don’t know if we have that one guy that is just a power pitcher that you give the ball to and say, ‘Hey, this is the dude that is going to come out and win.’ We have a lot of pitchers that throw strikes and compete, that have some good off-speed,” he said. “So it’s just a matter of progressing, throwing strikes and hitting our spots and make plays behind them. We’ve got a lot of good arms to be competitive.”

Others who will pitch are seniors Jake Pauley and Levi Stahl, juniors Carson Darlage and Ethan Fultz and sophomores Ethan Garland and Trent Lowery. Darlage, Stahl and Lowery are left-handers. The others are right-handers.

Pauley returns behind the plate.

“Jake is really good,” Higgs said. “He understands the game. He can hit and kind of do it all. He will call the pitches. We’re putting a lot on his plate.”

Pauley received the 2021 hitting award, and he and Davis were named to the all-Mid-Southern Conference team.

Stahl and Lowery are competing at first base, Steward and Quentin Tiemeyer at second and Ethan Garland at shortstop. McCormick, Fultz and Pierson Wheeler are fighting for playing time at third.

Carson Darlage is the leading candidate for center field.

“He has been very impressive tracking fly balls,” Higgs said. “We look for him to be the captain of the outfield. From there, my thing is I need a guy who can catch routine fly balls, hit a cutoff guy. Then it comes down to who’s hitting.”

Cole Darlage, Davis, Steward and Tiemeyer are the top candidates for the corner outfield spots.

The coach looks for Pauley to again lead the team in hitting.

“He should be our go-to guy at the plate because he has a lot of experience,” Higgs said.

He is also expecting a lot of offense from Stahl and Carson Darlage.

“From there, I’m a fan of ‘Get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em in.’ We’ve got to find ways to score runs, play good situational baseball,” he said. “I’m a big toughness guy. I look in this community and one of the reasons I came here is these are my type of kids. Kids that work hard, have a lot grit, toughness. In baseball, you’ve got to be really tough to handle the failures that you have in this game.”

The Braves, 12-14 last year, will open today by hosting Louisville Moore at 6 p.m.

Hilton is working with three seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and nine freshmen at Crothersville. There were two seniors on the 2021 roster.

“Our depth is young with 13 of them being underclassmen,” Hilton said.

Senior veterans are Ian Tatlock, who caught and played first base last year, and Matt Clouse, who pitched, played third and did some catching.

The other senior, Zach Helt, hasn’t played baseball since his freshman season and will help the Tigers in the infield.

Junior veterans are center fielder-first baseman Devin Morgan and infielder Caden Lewis.

Sophomores who lettered last spring were Logen O’Sullivan, Nolan Brandenburg, Cash Sawyer and Lucas Hilton.

O’Sullivan and Hilton will do some pitching. O’Sullivan will also catch and play in the infield and outfield, and Brandenburg, Cash and Hilton will see a lot of playing time in the outfield.

Hilton made the all-county team and batted .398 as a freshman last spring.

“Our top hitters will be Ian, Caden, Devin and Lucas,” coach Hilton said.

Beau Napier and Jackson Robinett are other infield candidates. The remainder of the players will see playing time in the outfield, the coach said.

“Lucas and Matt will be the No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers this year,” coach Hilton said. “It looks like we might be throwing six to eight kids this year, a big increase of the four we did last year. Our fielding has improved over last year since we were so young.”

The Tigers will open their season at 5 p.m. Thursday by hosting Borden for a Southern Athletic Conference game.

No posts to display