Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

March 1, 2014

Brannon banking on returning players at Keys

bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com

Wins were few and far between for Keys on the baseball diamond in 2013. But new Cougar coach Beau Brannon has an explanation for that.

“After only losing one starter from the 2013 season, I’m very hopeful for significant improvements this year,” Brannon said. “We played tons of underclassmen last year, including many freshman, and I’m hoping the experience and growth from a year ago will pay off this season.”

Brannon quickly pointed out some of the players he’s looking at to make a big impact in 2014.

“Seminole State College commit Austin Tarver will play a key role for us this year after hitting .460 as a junior,” Brannon said. “He will also big a big contribution at both shortstop and on the mound.

“Two other seniors, Micah Allison and Dillon Stratton, will also be big bats in the heart of our order.”

And there’s another Allison to add to the key contributors list.

“We’re extremely excited about the way underclassmen Rylan Davenport and Elisha Allison have come on since a year ago,” Brannon said.

Now it’s up to the players to take a vast leap forward in their improvement, Brannon said.

“After our first few scrimmages, I feel like offensively we will be fine,” Brannon said. “I’m confident we will score a lot of runs. I think the key for us this year will be making pitches when we need to and being able to make defensive plays to back up our pitching staff. We have really got to limit errors in the field and giving opposing teams a free base with a walk or hit-by-pitch.

“If we can do those things, I’m confident the improvement from last year will be significant.”

As for Brannon, he spoke glowingly about the opportunity to coach the Cougars, who open the season Saturday at Stilwell.

“God has blessed me with a great opportunity and I can’t wait to get my first season underway,” he said. “The kids have been working really hard and I’m excited to see what we’re capable of doing this year.”

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