Hanahan baseball has impressive numbers!

The Hanahan Hawks baseball team posted an 18-10 record last spring. But the numbers coach Brian Mitchell talks about are 56 and 35 as the 2016 season nears.

The 56 is the number of players in the Hanahan program. Thirty-five of those players play either varsity or junior varsity baseball.

“We have lots of kids in the program, and that’s a good thing,” veteran coach Brian Mitchell said. “It’s great that interest is so high. Now, it’s our job to develop that talent.”

The program gets a big boost with the return of Bryce Florie as an assistant coach. Florie played baseball at Hanahan High School and went on to have a successful career in the Major Leagues. He was a pitcher and his career was cut short when he suffered a serious eye injury when he pitched for the Boston Red Sox.

He served as an assistant at Hanahan and Bishop England and comes home after a stint as head coach at Northwood Academy.

"Having Bryce back is a tremendous plus for us,” Mitchell said. “His knowledge of the game is impressive and he should help out veteran and inexperienced pitchers.”

The team has only four position players back from last year’s team: RF Martin Van Buren, 1B Ridge Hunter, CF Eric Gartman and C Hunter Sutton. Pitcher Parker Sutrell is another experienced pitcher.

Van Buren and Futrell signed with North Carolina State and Charleston Southern respectively in November. Both players had key roles last spring.

Van Buren, a right-handed pitcher helped lead the Hawks to a district final last spring with a 4-1 record and a 2.38 ERA as a junior. He pitched 32 innings and allowed just 15 hits while striking out 46.

Futrell was the Hawks’ closer last spring and boasted impressive statistics, including two victories and three saves. He pitched 27 1/3 innings and tallied a 1.28 ERA and 19 strikeouts.

“Pitching is where we feel really good,” Mitchell said. “You can go a long way if you have pitchers who have command of their pitches and throw strikes. We feel like we can be competitive. It comes down to hitting. We know we can play defense and pitch well. It all comes down to finding ways to score runs.”

The team did lose two players who were expected to log plenty of playing time. One player moved back to Florida and the other transferred to Summerville. The Hawks got a boost when John Glee transferred from Northwood Academy to Hanahan.

The Hawks posted a 6-4 record last year in Region 8-AAA play.

Two-time region champ Berkeley is the team to beat in conference play, Mitchell said. Hilton Head, which features Clemson-bound lefthanded pitcher Mat Clark, should also be a force in the Lower State.

“That leaves us and Beaufort, although you can count out Stall and Orangeburg-Wilkinson,” Mitchell said. “The region championship could go down to the wire. We have to be able to compete with Berkeley and Hilton Head.”

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