Travis Henson was born in 1974, the same year Jerry Henson, Travis’ father, coached Blue Ridge High’s baseball team to a state runner-up finish in Class AA.
Thirty-nine years later, Blue Ridge, under Travis Henson, is ranked No. 9 in Class AAA in the preseason.
“We are very excited about the upcoming season,” Henson said. “We are extremely proud of the work that our players have put in during the offseason.
“As a coach, you want your guys to work hard and build unity in the preseason. They improve daily because of this hard work, and they have been working together.”
Henson said defense, base running and situational hitting will be keys, but the Tigers’ strength will be their pitching staff.
Erskine College signee Kyle Foster, Hunter Wheeler, John Mason Reynolds, Michael Urueta and Robert Westenrieder make up Blue Ridge’s rotation.
“We feel good about all five of our starting pitchers,” Henson said. “They have different strengths and pitching styles.”
The catchers will be juniors Alex Williams and Ty Montgomery.
Senior Zach Byer, a Limestone College signee, will start at third base, with Jordan Bravo at shortstop.
Williams, Tavin Pratt, Justin Center and Drew Matthews will rotate at second base.
Westenrieder and Wheeler will play first base when they are not on the mound.
Foster and Wheeler will split time in left field when they are not scheduled to pitch. Reynolds will play center field when not pitching. Junior Blake Pittman will start in right field. Urueta also will see some time in the outfield when he is not pitching.
Henson said the Peach Blossom AAA Region will be strong.
“We know that all of our opponents will be very good,” Henson said. “We have been paying attention to details. We know that the little things can be the difference between winning and losing this season.”