For a moment, Academics Plus baseball coach John Harrison wasn’t sure if the Falcons were going to comprise a team. However, the Falcons have gathered 10-11 players and compete in their first contest Monday against Quitman.
"We have a little bit of experience, but it’s going to be a work in progress," Harrison said. "Basically, we are a program in our third year of existence. We are inexperienced, but it should be fun, and the kids are up for it."
Harrison returns four starters in Paul Sheesley, Kevin Coffman, Will Westenburger and Steven Harris. Additionally, senior Chabala Musonda is playing for the first time this season. Because of his athleticism, Harrison said he will be able to make some contributions and is projected to play left field.
"When he hit the ball, he hit the crap out of it," Harrison said. "He has a decent arm and can run extremely well. He has never been on base before, and I’m anxious to see him on the field."
When the Falcons take the field Monday, Westenburger will take the mound. Harrison said he can throw strikes and is excited for the game. Sheesley plays catcher and will also pitch. After those two, no other players have any pitching experience, but Harrison thinks the Falcons will respond to the challenge.
"Sheesley can be an effective pitcher if can control his fastball," Harrison said. "He can throw in the lower 80’s but has control issues at times."
Harris returns at shortshop, Coffman is in centerfield, and Ian Gates is at first base. With only 10-11 players, Harrison said all will have to make plays. One positive is Harrison thinks the Falcons will put the ball in play, put guys on base and score runs. However, many questions remain.
"We have a little bit of athleticism and that can take you a little in baseball and make up for lack of finesse," he said. "The bright spot is we don’t lack confidence and aren’t afraid, and that is a good thing."