Knights swing into action

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By Jessica Veatch and Josh Veatch

After wrapping up last season with a record of 15-14, Head Coach Chad Spalding looks for this season to be an improvement.
“It will be difficult for us to obtain but I think we have a shot at winning 20 games,” Spalding said. “In order for us to do that we will have to play solid defensively and catch some breaks with the weather and not have many games canceled.”
Spalding went on to say that this season’s schedule is tougher than last year’s, but with many returning starters the expectations and the quality of play should be higher.
“The 20th district is wide open with every team in my eyes having a chance to win on any given night.”
Six of the Knights’ opponents are currently ranked in the top 30-preseason poll for Kentucky baseball. The upcoming schedule presents a challenge for Spalding and the team, but many key returning players give Spalding a positive outlook.
“Paul Spalding, last year’s co-MVP, will be our leader in many ways this season,” Spalding said. “He was one of our most consistent offensive players last season so I look for him to be even better this season at the plate as long as he doesn’t press and try to do too much. Defensively, Paul will play shortstop and will be the anchor on the infield. He will also pitch for us and at this point of practice without playing any games, I would rank him as a top three pitcher.”
Coach Spalding said that Devin Spalding, last year’s co-MVP, will anchor the outfield.
“He led us in many offensive categories last season and he was also very effective on the mound,” he said. “He was an above average lead-off hitter for us last season and did all of that as a freshman.”
Other names to look for this season are Bryan Gootee and Eric Farmer, two returners who have started the past two seasons. Players who contributed to varsity action last year include Landon Baker, Joey Costello, Michael Costello, Aaron Hamilton, Davis Mattingly, Dylan Spalding and Clay Thomas.
Spalding also noticed the increase in velocity from many of the pitchers, especially with Dylan Spalding, Landon Baker, Devin Spalding, Joey Costello, Davis Mattingly and Clay Thomas.  
The Knights traveled to Frankfort to scrimmage against Franklin County last Monday. Spalding said he was pleased with the way the team looked in their first team outing.
“I was pleased with how our pitchers performed,” Coach Spalding said. “They threw strikes and got ground balls and fly balls. Offensively, we were more effective than I thought we would be considering we haven’t seen any live arms.  We made too many mistakes mentally, but I feel we can fix those in time.”
The Marion County Knights varsity and junior varsity baseball teams kicked off their season Monday and Tuesday against Washington County and Danville. Results were unknown at press time. The freshman team plays tonight on the road against Bethlehem, and the varsity team travels to Eastern High School in Louisville to take part in the Eastern Invitational on Friday and Saturday. In the Knights’ three games in the tournament, they are scheduled to play Eastern on Friday at 5:30 p.m., Waggener at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and Scott County at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The following Monday, the freshman team travels to Nelson County and the junior varsity team will battle Anderson County at Hourigan Field next Tuesday evening. The varsity Knights first home game is next Wednesday against Boyle County.