Lions counting on senior leadership for solid season

Published 4:09 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2024

By Shane Shackleford

Contributing Sports Writer

Coming off a better than expected 8-10 season, the Pineville Mountain Lions have similar expectations under new coach Shawnta Zachery.

Email newsletter signup

“The season so far has been up and down, but I knew we had a young team with some inexperienced guys who needed reps. We have a stretch of games coming up that I believe are winnable games and will be good for those guys. I look forward to building and developing this program,” Zachery said recently in an interview.

According to Zachery, any success the Lions may have this season is tied to the play of the squads three seniors: Wyatt Caldwell, Sam Caldwell and Logunn Littles.

“Wyatt Caldwell, hands down one of the best players in the region and not a single catcher I would take over him. He’s off to a great start this season.

“Sam has surprisingly stepped up as leader this year being more vocal and has been pitching extremely well for us. Sam’s approach at the plate has been great and he’s always doing the little things to improve this team.

“Logunn is our ace on the bump and has been nothing short of amazing at the plate this season. He’s batting well over .500 and in the top 25 in state for doubles this year he has brought energy and stability on the mound this season.”

Zachery is also happy with his middle infield combination of second baseman Nasir Wilson and shortstop Deakon Partin.

“Deakon is our anchor in the infield and has been hitting the ball well for us this season. Potential for Deakon is extremely high and hope he continues to develop and improve his game not only on gridiron but on the diamond as well,” he said. “Nas holds down second for us and has improved so much from last season. He is always looking to get better and put in the extra time always asking for more reps in the field and in the batters box.”

Third base is being held down by freshman Sean Bennett Pursifull.

“S.B. is our back up catcher and also plays on the infield. He is young and getting better. More reps and experience will only help him grow and improve. This is another kid with very good potential and excited for,” said Zachery.

The outfield features the brothers Robbins with Landon in left and Kaiden in center and Tristian Johnson in right. Zachery has been pleased with their development.

“Landon doesn’t have much baseball experience but has been solid for us in the outfield and one of our best base runners.”

“Kaiden Robbins, our lead off hitter and most energetic player. He’s our captain in the outfield and aggressor on the bases.”

“It’s Tristan’s first year with the team and is one of our utility guys and does anything we ask of him. Plays outfield:/infield and DHs, he has been a huge addition to this team.”

Other members of the squad include outfielders Kaden Taylor, Matthew Abner, Tyler Amburgey and DJ Johnson, as well as infielder Lucas Green.

Zachery has high hopes for his squad as the postseason approaches.

“As far as how I want things to wind up, I just want growth from our guys and improvement on everything baseball,” he said. “We play in a decent district and our goal is to one way or another get to region because I believe they haven’t been since 2004. Our seniors are a huge part of our success and those three guys will have a lot to do with that coming to fruition.”