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Season Preview: Hawks unleash pitching aces

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By Ron Benningfield

 Like an F-35 Strike Eagle fighter fully armed with a payload of Harm missiles, LaRue County High School’s varsity baseball Hawks enter this season’s battles loaded with formidable veteran pitching aces capable of hurling their projectiles fast and on target to home plate.

Cole Hughes, a senior who also plays third base, will lead the pitching staff, according to head coach Eric Allen.

“Cole has been a varsity player for three years,” said Allen. “He is one of the top pitchers in the area.”

Another senior, Jordan McGaw, will alternate mound duty with first base.  “Jordan is poised to have a nice year on the mound and has improved tremendously at first base and at the plate,” said Allen.

Austin McDowell, as did McGaw, saw some varsity time last year, but McDowell returns with more power this season.

“Austin’s arm has gotten a lot stronger which will enable him to pitch and play short for us,” Allen said about the junior.

Senior Kelton Ford played varsity baseball his sophomore year before sitting out last year.

“Kelton is a good utility player who will be able to fill any voids that we may have due to his ability to play all positions,” said Allen.

Other Hawks include senior outfielders Matt Hornback, Caleb Canter and Austin Hinton; sophomores Koy Lindsey, catcher and Turner Cottrell, second base; freshman pitchers Chandler Lynn and Colby Skaggs, who also can play third base.

“Our strength will be our top two pitchers Cole and Jordan,” predicted Allen. “We will have a chance to win anytime they toe the rubber. Our weakness will be our inexperience.”

Last year in the Fifth Region finals, the Hawks fell 4-2 to Central Hardin, a team that Allen described as a strong contender again this season. The Bruins have claimed the region title the past three years.

The coach, an algebra and U.S. History special education teacher at LCHS, said his team has set as its goals to improve every day and to win the 18th District Tournament. LaRue has captured the district tourney crown every year since 2002.

The Hawks opened regular season play last week.