Exeter came up one game short of winning a district championship and earning a spot in the Class 1 state tournament last year, which is something that has motivated the Tigers heading into this season.
“We are looking to avenge ourselves at districts this year,” head coach Matthew Tripp said. “Changes to our conference leave us with no alternative but to compete for a conference title. The last couple years have been very enjoyable turning this program around and watching the boys start to expect success. This season is a time to move the program forward and continue on with the hard work and examples left by those before us.”
The Tigers will look to get those conference and district titles this year led by one of the area’s fastest players in senior Jared Alverson.
Alverson, a pitcher and outfielder, hit .456 last year as the leadoff man for the Tigers, but he did his real damage once on the basepaths. The senior swiped a state-record 58 bases last year and is on pace to shatter the career record for stolen bases.
Fellow senior Jacob Foster will be in the mix to earn the No. 1 spot in the starting rotation after a strong summer and fall season. He will join Alverson in the outfield when not pitching.
Hank Woods has shown marked improvement from his freshman to sophomore seasons. He will be the primary catcher, but is also one of the team’s best pitchers according to coach Matthew Tripp.
Up the middle, junior Jared Lee and freshman Corey Hilburn will hold down shortstop and second base.
Work ethic and attitude will be strengths for the Tigers, but Tripp would like to see improvement at the plate.
“Work ethic and attitude will be our biggest assets. Athleticism should be better than any prior year. Experience and familiarity with and in the program will start to be a benefit for us,” Tripp said. “Our hitting needs to continue to improve. We will need a few newcomers to step up and produce.”
Overall, expectations are high for the Exeter baseball program.
“Our potential is great, therefore our expectations match,” Tripp said. “We should continue to improve this season. We should be at the top of our conference and district.”
Exeter opens the season on Mar. 15 at Blue Eye.