Huntsmen hunting for championships

Huntsmen hunting for championships


Huntsmen hunting for championships


The Huntington baseball team is looking to win a championship this season.

In year one under new head coach Brian Smith, the Huntsmen finished the 2014 season with a 10-12 record. However, they won a sectional championship before a 10-2 loss to Alexander in a Division III district semi-final.

Now in 2015 and year two under Smith, the Huntsmen are looking to take the next step towards championship contention.

“That playoff game is something that we can build off of,” Smith said. “That experience is valuable and something we can hang our hats on. We’ve been working really hard and the kids are looking to do something special this season that’s never been done before.”

Gone from last year’s team are Lucas Sarver, Jacob Kellough and Layne Stockham, along with two other seniors. However, the Huntsmen are ready to battle this season behind their four senior leaders: Mikey Woofter (SP), Logan Carroll (3B), Austin Long (IF) and Luke Ramsey (OF).

“Those guys have worked hard,” Smith said. “They’re good kids and good students. Luke is somewhat of a newcomer to us but we’re thrilled to have him. These kids have welcomed him to the team with open arms and I’m excited for him to be able to play this season. As for the other three seniors; they’ve been improving every day and they want to win, I couldn’t ask for better leaders.”

However, there are a couple of players he couldn’t help but glow over in Jacob Pugh, who transferred from Southeastern, and freshman Hunter Henneberger.

“Those kids are going to be special,” Smith said. “Pugh will help fill the void left by the graduating seniors. He’s going to split time at second base for us, but he’s a special player. Henneberger is going to be a spectacular player. He’s a freshman but he has star potential. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he handles himself this year.”

Last year was a one of transition where Smith spent much time just getting to know his players. But they’ve now gotten comfortable with each other and they’ve bought into what he’s selling.

“We’ve had three scrimmages already this season,” Smith said. “These kids are really gelling. They get along great with each other and they really enjoy playing the game of baseball. They trust me and the system I’ve brought to Huntington and I give them that same amount of trust and it’s been great coaching them.”

The Huntsmen are ready for battle and are even more ready to bring some hardware back to Huntington.

“We want to win, badly,” Smith said. “We got to districts last year and fell short of bringing the championship home. That’s something these kids have talked about for a while and they believe they can accomplish it this year. They want to bring back a conference championship, a sectional championship and the district championship. Anything else on top of that is icing on the cake.”

The Huntsmen will begin their season, Monday at home, as they host the Waverly Tigers.

Huntsmen softball ushering in new era

When all was said and done last season, Huntington finished 2014 with a 12-14 record. But they were able to capture a Division III sectional title before falling in the district semifinal to Wellston, 6-2.

Now in 2015, they welcome in new head coach Spencer Smith; who was the previous coach at Wilmington High School as a baseball coach for the Hurricane.

“So far it’s been a smooth transition,” Smith said. “The kids have made it easy for me. They compete every day in practice and they’ve bought into what I’ve been selling since I started. I’m excited to get my tenure as head coach started.”

With the Huntsmen losing only a few seniors, most notably Shania Irvin, they still bring back a lot of experience to the diamond.

This year’s roster features four seniors in Alayna Lytle (SP), Bailey Depugh (2B), Jessica Carroll (RF) and Heather Fields (IF). They will be looked to as the captains of the club and be in charge of providing leadership to the group.

“We have great senior leadership,” Smith said. “They’re wonderful kids and even better students. We expect them to lead by example, set the tone and give 110% effort on every single pitch. I know they’re looking forward to the season and they want to go out on a positive note.”

Along with those seniors, a couple new key additions will be welcomed for the Lady Huntsmen.

“Dylana Gragg will play first base,” Smith said. “She hasn’t played for a while but we’re looking forward to seeing what see brings to the table once the season starts. She’s being practicing great for us so far. Kearra Strasbaugh is just a freshman but she’s going to be our starting catcher. She works hard every day and we like how much she improves day by day.”

In year one under Smith, he isn’t putting any pressure or any type of expectations on this team. He just wants effort on every single play.

“We talked about taking things one day at a time,” Smith said. “The goal is to get better every single day. We want to build off our non-league schedule and then come into the league playing at a high level. We have our first four games at home this season, so that’s a nice advantage for us to have.”

Huntington will kick off its season today at home against Miami Trace.


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