Hawks bring pitching depth and talent to new baseball season
The Hanahan High School pitching staff is set for the 2019 baseball season, and the unit includes enough depth and talent that should make it one of the best groups in the state.
However, the infield isn’t so certain. In fact, the way coach Brian Mitchell talks, it could be something straight out of the classic Abbott and Costello baseball routine that includes “Who’s on first, What’s on second and I don’t know on third.”
The reason for the uncertainty is because three of the Hawks’ four infielders from last year’s team graduated, while the other, first baseman Cooper Dawson, signed a football scholarship to play for the Syracuse Orange and has already enrolled at the university. He’s big at 6-5 and even a bigger loss. He led the team with six homers last spring and batted over .300.
The Hawks won 18 games in 2017 and 22 last year, and don’t be surprised if the Hawks top last year’s victory total of 22, thanks to some pitching talent. The Hawks begin the season as the state’s No. 5 team in the state baseball coaches’ association preseason poll.
The best of the bunch just might be Aiden Hunter, a sophomore who already has committed to play for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks as a member of their 2021 class. He’s a lanky righthander who has a fastball that already hits in the 85-86 mph range. He was 5-1 last year with a 1.13 ERA. He will play first base when he’s not on the mound.
Senior Trey Pooser is back after leading the team with eight victories. Another, senior, Charlie Mac Toman, provides even more quality.
Luke Litwin, who battled injuries last spring, seems ready to return to his top flight form of two years ago. Toman, who will play for Florence-Darlington at the next level, will also get plenty of work. Sam Zeron will be counted on as well.
Catcher Jonathan Barham, who will play for Coker, batted over .300 and did a good job of handling the pitchers.
“We’re in a similar position that we’ve been in the past,” Mitchell said. “We have good pitching, we are really strong this year. But we will have to scrape together some runs this year to be competitive. We have a lot of depth. We just have to see how we develop.”
Hunter, who also pitches, will play first. Coleman Jenkins should see time at first and catcher.
Junior Omar Aguilar is projected to play second base and Randy Scott and Brick Nichols are battling for the shortstop job. Mac Blakeney, who was the Hawks’ starting quarterback on the gridiron, is among the top candidates for the third baseman’s job.
Mitchell isn’t ready to pencil in any of the infield players as starters just yet.
“We have some kids who have potential, but we have to wait and see who they perform in the scrimmages,’’ The coach said.
Outfield candidates include Camden Mitchell, William Pugh, Sebastian Field, Chevy Campbell and Jason Albach.