By Chris Parsons
After finishing last season with a 14-24 overall record, Corbin head coach Rob Ledington said there was one thing he wanted his team to do this season. He said if the team carries this goal out, the season would most likely take care of itself.
“We want our kids to come out and hustle and play hard for this community,” Ledington said. “We have so much support from everyone around us, our first goal is to come out and play hard enough to make them proud.
“If we do that, I feel like things will take care of themselves as far as our record goes,” he added. “If you go out and do the right things on the baseball field, do the little things, not only will people remember that, but you’ll most likely win some games as well.”
After a rough year that saw the Redhounds get eliminated from the 13th Region Tournament in a 2-1 loss to North Laurel, the cupboard isn’t exactly bare for Ledington.
Corbin returns five seniors (Chad Brown, Keaton Burton, Zach Farley, Jacob Metzger and Derek Terry) who are embarking on their fourth year under Ledington’s tutelage. Ledington said he is anxious to see how the group responds to being in the driver’s seat as some of the team leaders.
“This is the first year that I have a group of seniors that have been with me since they were freshmen,” Ledington said. “I’m interested in seeing how they will respond.
“Based on being in the program for four years, they’ve got a really good idea of what we’ve been trying to do,” he added. “I think they’re pretty knowledgeable, but some of them haven’t had a whole lot of at bats, so we’ll have to figure things out.”
Despite the losing record last season, the Redhounds finished above .500 against 13th Region opponents with a 10-9 record. They were 4-4 against district foes and fell to South Laurel, 3-2, in the district finals.
Offensively, the Redhounds scored at a rate of four runs per game, while allowing seven. That difference is concerning to Ledington and he admitted his team would have to do the small things to try and manufacture some runs, especially considering the loss of Trace Vorbeck to graduation.
“One of our major concerns is trying to find a lineup that can score some runs,” Ledington said. “We’re not blessed with great team speed. We’re not slow, but we’re not fast either.
“We have a bunch of guys that are average base runners, so we have to figure out a way to move them when they get on and be able to score some runs,” he added.
When it comes to his team’s strengths, Ledington said pitching and defense would be the Redhounds’ strong points. With a sophomore catcher in Austin O’Neill to hold things down behind the plate, the Redhounds will look to a stable of guys that Ledington said can throw strikes and give the defense a chance to play plays.
“I think pitching and defense wins games, so we’re in the right spot there,” he said. “We don’t have any shutdown guys that can mow people down and throw 95, but we’ve got a bunch of guys that can throw strikes and know how to pitch.
“Add to that a pretty good defensive corps with a pretty solid catcher in O’Neill and you’ve got some kids that might be able to make some plays,” he added. “I like what we have up the middle in Andrew Jones and Keaton Burton, and we have some good arms in the outfield in Metzger, Farley and Nick Vorbeck. We’ll have to make the plays to be in games, but like I said, I think we have some kids that can do that for us.”
Corbin will open the regular season on March 18, but a scrimmage this Saturday is something that is on Ledington’s mind right now.
The Redhounds will hold their annual Red/White game Saturday at noon with the proceeds to benefit ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Ledington said he feels like it’s important to start the season on a positive note and to teach the team the values of giving something back.
“This is something that is important to me and it gives the kids a chance to learn some life lessons,” he said. “To me, that’s something more important as a coach, so we try to start the season off like that.”
There will be no admission charge for Saturday’s scrimmage, but the team will accept donations.