This season's Cougars will fit the same mold at the plate; not the most gifted physically, but each does their job to pick up the win. Tharp will bat leadoff for the Cougars, and is as gifted as they come running the bags.
"He's a great base runner," Jones said. "Walks a ton, gets a lot of ground balls and puts the pressure on the defense, and he beats the ball out."Hoffman will likely bat third, and Bray should hit cleanup for South Central. Powless hit over .400 in the fall, and will bat in the five slot. The Cougars don't have the tools to blast a lot of balls over the outfield wall, but should chip away at opposing pitchers to plate some runs.
"They're not big strike out guys," Jones said. "We've spent a lot of time using the whole field, they bought into that for the most part. They've done pretty well."South Central played its role well in 2012, advancing deep into last season's playoffs. But as always, it's the last game that is thought of the most.
"What you remember is how far you advance," Jones said. "One of our goals is to naturally keep working and get better and better. What you think about last season is getting beat by St. Anthony."
With the Bulldogs up in Class 2A this spring, South Central figures to again be a tough out come May. The Cougars will take the first step toward another berth in sectional action next Monday when they host Altamont, as Monday's game against Mulberry Grove was canceled.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at firstname.lastname@example.org