Staff Reports ~ Standard Democrat
RISCO -- The Risco High School varsity baseball team began its season this week with a pair of losses on Monday and Tuesday.
During its opener Monday, the Tigers dropped a 16-2 decision at home against Bernie. Risco returned to its home diamond Tuesday, but was beaten 18-8 by Clarkton. Both games were stopped after five innings, when the 10-run rule was enforced.
Matt Smith had two singles, while Ross Carter and Jeff Walker each supplied doubles for the Tigers on Monday versus Bernie. Silas Dill was the winning pitcher for the Mules. Carter suffered the losing decision for Risco.
On Tuesday, Carter hit two doubles as the Tigers rallied from a 16-0 deficit, outscoring Clarkton 8-2 during the final stages of the game. Tolby Richardson picked up the victory for the Reindeer. Smith took the loss for Risco (0-2 overall).
"Our pitching has not been strong," Risco head coach Brandon Blankenship said. "In the 10 innings that we have played so far, nearly every one of our pitchers has been on the mound for us."
Coach: Brandon Blankenship (sixth year at school, sixth year overall)
2006 Record: 3-8 overall during fall season (2006 was first fall season for Risco)
Returning starters: (5 lost to graduation) 3
C -- Nick White, Sr.; Brandon Bennett, So., out with ACL injury
1B -- Justin Earnheart, So.
2B -- Josh Long, So.; Jonathan Wigley, Fr.
SS -- Matt Smith, Sr.
3B -- Ross Carter, So.
LF -- Jeff Walker, Sr.
CF -- Michael Davis, Sr.
RF -- Zack Brannon, Fr.; Jerry Walker, Fr.
DH --Zack Brannon, Fr.
P -- Keith Kimball, Sr.; Ross Carter, So. Justin Earnheart, So.; Michael Davis, Sr.; Matt Smith, Sr.
Aug. 20 -- vs. Bernie (lost 16-2)
Aug. 21 -- vs. Clarkton (lost, 18-8)
Aug. 23 -- vs. Cooter, 4 p.m.
Aug. 27 -- at Campbell, 4 p.m.
Aug. 28 -- at Clarkton, 4 p.m.
Aug. 30 -- at Bernie, 4:15 p.m.
Sept. 4 -- at Southland, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 -- at Naylor, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 -- at Delta C-7, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 -- at North Pemiscot, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 -- vs. Holcomb, 4 p.m.
Sept. 21 -- vs. Delta C-7, 4:30 p.m.
With 11 players on the roster, playing time will not be an issue. Experience will come as the season moves forward ... Keith Kimball, a second-team All-Tri County Conference pitcher last spring, returns for his senior season. He'll be the anchor of the pitching staff that has some depth ... Blakenship believes the Tigers' defense has the potential be solid, if not spectacular ... The Tigers are not a powerful team, but the roster is filled with hitters who make solid contact with the baseball.
Risco transfer students, Zack Williams (1B) and Chris Williams (OF), must observe a MSHSAA rule that states athletes may not participate in sports for a period of 365 days after switching schools. They will be back on the diamond for the spring baseball season in 2008.
Starting catcher Brandon Bennett will miss the fall baseball season because of an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He won't return to Risco's athletic program until basketball season in December ... With as many as five players lacking varsity experience, the Tigers may struggle early this fall.
Risco will be tested right off the bat. The Tigers have scheduled six games during the first 11 days of the season. Kimball must provide innings for a pitching staff that has depth, but lacks time on the mound. The Tigers must overcome the loss of Brandon Bennett on an already thin roster.