There will be a lot of new faces on the field when the Motlow Bucks open the 2018 baseball season as veteran Head Coach Dan McShea welcomes back only six players from last year’s squad. McShea has brought in a wealth of transfers in hopes of building the Bucks back into a contender in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA).
The Bucks will open the season Friday, Feb. 2, with a trip to play Wallace State in Hanceville, Ala., in a 1 p.m. doubleheader. The following day Motlow goes to Birmingham to face Birmingham Southern in a noon doubleheader. The first home game is Saturday, Feb. 10, when Vincennes, Ind., visits for a noon doubleheader at the Driver Baseball Complex on Motlow’s Moore County campus. Admission is free for all Motlow home athletic contests.
The Bucks only return four players who saw game action last year. Outfielder Paul Rahman, from Charlotte, Tenn., had 70 at-bats and hit .243 with three doubles and eight runs batted in. Catcher Kirby Smith, from Fayetteville, hit .207 in 58 at-bats with a double, triple, home run and eight RBI.
On the mound the Bucks return Lawrenceburg’s Jase Carvell, who started eight games and went 2-2 with a 5.65 earned run average. Chandler Hardiman, from Fayetteville, started seven games and finished with a 3-2 record and a 6.75 ERA.
Also back are a pair of redshirt-freshmen left-handed pitchers in Darin Keller from Tullahoma and Jordan Burdette from Lawrenceburg.
Among the transfers, and the school they previously played at or attended, are sophomores De’Andre Pitts, East Mississippi Community College; Michael Bruhin, Spartanburg Methodist; Dallas Bryan, Lee University; Jake Chaney, Lawson State; Colin Smith, Florida Southwestern; and Troy Weatherly, Chattanooga State.
Also transferring to Motlow to play their freshman seasons are Logan Walters, Tennessee Tech; Kobe Foster, Tennessee Wesleyan; Patrick Music, Lincoln Memorial; Carson Pack, Tennessee Tech; and Micah McClellan, Lee University.
Incoming freshmen, and the high school they attended, are Tre Bailliez, Stewarts Creek; John Mangini and Tyler Harmon, Grissom in Huntsville; Matthew Garmendia, homeschool; Dayton and Nathan Sanders, Smyrna; Brayden Gentry, Marshall County; Paul McIntosh, Dade Christian in Miami; Matt Young, Maryville; Justin Parker, Buckhorn; and Chase Dixon from Tullahoma.
Entering his twelfth season as head coach, McShea’s Bucks are coming off a 22-30 season last year that included an early exit in the TCCAA postseason tournament. Motlow’s last winning season in baseball was 2014 when they finished 40-24 and advanced to the NJCAA East/Central district tournament.
McShea will be assisted by Cody Gaskill for the third consecutive season.
The Bucks will open conference play the first weekend in March when they travel to Chattanooga State for a three-game series. Each conference series consists of three games, with a single nine-inning contest on Friday and a pair of seven-inning games on Saturday. The first home conference series is the following weekend with Cleveland State as the visitor.