Warhawks kick off season Sunday
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Darrell Blevins does not want to be compared to any of predecessors, but what he wants to have in common with them is success.
To say Blevins inherited a team that won the Alabama Community College Conference south division championship last year would be a stretch since graduation and player defections after preceding coach Jim Morrill's release virtually wiped out the roster.
In fact, JDCC has just four carryovers from last year's 41-14 team, Kyle Reed, Harrison Szuch, Scott Hamilton and redshirt freshman Alex Granade.
This is the first head coaching job for Blevins, who spent the last three years as an assistant coach at ACCC south rival Faulkner State.
started here last fall. There is still a lot of work to do, but we've come a long way,” Blevins said.
As the Warhawks get ready for Sunday's season opener at home against Shorter College (a 12 noon doubleheader), many of the positions remain up for grabs.
Freshman Daniel Hodge, a W.S. Neal graduate, appeared to be the frontrunner for the first base job until he was sidelined with a broken toe earlier this month. That has opened an opportunity for freshman Jake Bonds (Flomaton) and sophomore Kyle Reed (Cantonment, Fla.).
Second base is a battle between freshman Jesse Edwards (Notasulga) and freshman David Hand (Pace, Fla.).
Shortstop is a close battle between freshman Kenny McDonald (Pensacola, Fla.) and freshman Steven Bingert (Pensacola).
One of the few spots that is pretty well set is third base where freshman Bubba Mack of Milton (Fla.) has emerged.
The outfield will feature freshman J.J. Cutler (Cantonment) and sophomore Nathan Evans (Montgomery) in leftfield.
Centerfield has competition between sophomore David Washington (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and freshman Jamar Bryant (Tallahassee, Fla.).
Freshman Jeremy White (Lawley) probably has an upper hand on rightfield headed into the season although freshman Ryan Gray (Pensacola) should also factor into the equation.
Behind the plate at catcher will be freshman Nathan Hughes (Opelika), freshman Jonathan Milling (Tuscaloosa) and freshman Wes Burt (Auburn).
Although not locked into a specialist role, freshman Brandon Sapp (Cantonment) and freshman Tyler Rollan (Montgomery) could see most of their action as a designated hitter.
Blevins admits the JDCC pitching rotation is not an overpowering one.
Freshman righthander Adam Reed (Pensacola), freshman righthander Michael Maraldo (Pensacola), freshman righthander Ronnie Baker (Montgomery) and freshman lefthander Tim Horne (Pensacola) should be the primary starters. Lefthanders Kyle Reed and freshman lefthander Alex Granade (Brewton) could also get some spot duties.
Freshman righthander Jeremy Greenwell (Century, Fla.) probably enters the season as JDCC's closer.
Blevins sees a lot of balance in the ACCC south race.
2006 JDCC Baseball Schedule
Feb. 5 Shorter Home 12 noon (DH)
Feb. 10 Wallace State-Hanceville Home (DH) 12 noon
Feb. 14 Marion Away 12 noon
Feb. 16 Jones Away 1 p.m. (DH)
Feb. 18 Pensacola Away 3 p.m.
Feb. 19 Pensacola Home 1 p.m.
Feb. 23 Marion Home 12 noon
Feb. 28 LaGrange Away 2 p.m. (DH)
Mar. 3-4 Gulf Coast Tournament
Mar. 7 Henry Ford Home 12 noon (DH)
Mar. 12 Bevill State-Fayette Home 12 noon
Mar. 14 Central Alabama Home 1 p.m. (DH)
Mar. 17 Baton Rouge Home 2 p.m.
Mar. 21 L.B. Wallace Home 1 p.m. (DH)
Mar. 23 L.B. Wallace Away 1 p.m.
Mar. 25 L.B. Wallace Away 1 p.m. (DH)
Mar. 31 Central Alabama Away 1 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 4 Alabama Southern Away 1 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 6 Alabama Southern Home 1 p.m.
Apr. 8 Alabama Southern Home 1 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 11 Wallace State-Dothan Away 1 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 13 Wallace State-Dothan Home 1 p.m.
Apr. 15 Wallace State-Dothan Home 1 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 18 Bishop State Away 1 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 20 Bishop State Home 1 p.m.
Apr. 22 Bishop State Home 1 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 25 Enterprise Home 1 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 27 Enterprise Away 1 p.m.
Apr. 29 Enterprise Away 1 p.m. (DH)
May 2 Faulkner State Home 1 p.m. (DH)
May 4 Faulkner State Away 1 p.m.
May 6 Faulkner State Away 1 p.m. (DH)