2019 was a solid year for Central Hardin baseball. The Bruins kept their losses in the single digits and earned a spot in the 5th Region Tournament.
For Central Hardin coach Todd Thompson, expectations are no different for this year’s team.
“I expect us to work hard. Get better each day and be competitive each day,” Thompson said. “Our schedule should prepare us well.”
This schedule includes 34 games and two regular-season tournaments. This is the same number of games the Bruins had scheduled in 2019, when the team went 26-8 overall. This included two six-game win streaks and a 10-game win streak later in the second half of the season.
Against 5th Region opponents, Central Hardin went 10-4. In the 17th District, the team went 7-3.
Despite the winning records, the Bruins fell to North Hardin 8-5 in the 17th District tournament championship May 22, 2019. Five days later, the district runner-ups had their season come to a close in an 8-7 loss to Taylor County May 27 in the opening round of the 5th Region Tournament.
Ending the season on these losses was dissapointing, but that’s all in the past. The Bruins plan to continue doing what’s worked for them previously and have their goals in mind heading into this season
“To get better each day and win region,” Thompson said. “We will play the same style of baseball we’re accustomed to.”
This year’s Central Hardin team consists of five seniors, seven juniors, seven sophomores and one freshman, giving the team a mix of experienced, older players and younger, less tested players.
With this mixed group comes areas of the game with more strength and areas where the Bruins still need to show more improvement.
Thompson said his team has shown progress at the mound and in the field, but there was still room to grow at the plate.
“Strength should be our depth in pitching and versatility on the field,” Thompson said. “We need more work and need to be more precise in certain areas of our offensive game.”
Among this year’s roster, Thompson expects senior pitcher Cooper Jones to be an important part of Central Hardin’s rotation.
Near the other end of the age range, Thompson has high expectations for sophomore Ryan Bibb both on in the field and at the plate.
“I look for Cooper Jones to have another excellent year on the mound,” Thompson said. “And for shortstop Ryan Bibb to have a solid year offensively and defensively.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Previews were written before the shutdown of schools and the postponement of the spring season.