Beasley, Shelby County will lose 10 seniors

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA – From the outside, the Shelby County baseball Wildcats may have underachieved. With one of the best pitchers and one of the best hitters in the county, the expectation from head coach Shane Beasley and his squad was to hopefully make a run at the state tournament. The Wildcats, once ranked as high as seventh in class 5A, ended the season with a winning record at 10-9, but finished third in Area 8 behind Sylacauga and Clay Central, and subsequently missed the playoffs.

“We felt like we had an opportunity to get to the playoffs,” Beasley said in an April 20 phone interview. “If one or two balls go our way, it’s a different season. We were in every game and had a chance to win some games we didn’t.”

Of the 10 seniors the Wildcats will lose, Spencer Dill and Nick Lowery will be the hardest to replace. According to Beasley, Dill ended the year with a 1.14 ERA and a 5-2 record.

“He had one of the lowest ERA’s around, if not the lowest,” Beasley said.

From an offensive standpoint, Shelby County will be without Lowery moving forward, who led the way for the Wildcats from the plate with a .382 batting average.

Replacing both the talent and depth housed within Shelby County’s roster in 2015 will be a hard job, but Beasley has faith in who will be returning to the program.

Kelby Jennings will be the number one pitcher for the Wildcats next year, and Adam Landefeld will need to lead the way from the mound for Shelby County to be competitive next season, according to Beasley. Jeremiah Pennington will be the teams everyday catcher as well.

Beasley, the offensive coordinator for the football team in the fall and head coach of the baseball team in the springtime, will also look to get significant contributions from a number of this years’ junior varsity roster, as the squad will only have four seniors next season.

“We’re going to look to build on what we did this year,” Beasley said.