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Bulldogs back to continue winning ways

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Pitt Community College's head baseball coach Tommy Eason during practice on April 18, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Pitt Community College baseball not winning the Region X tournament last season still resonates with some of the sophomores on this year’s PCC team.

The Bulldogs racked up more than 20 Region X wins in 2018 and were the favorites for the Region X postseason, but their season ended there when they were eliminated during the tournament.

“That will leave a bitter taste in your mouth,” said Austin LaFollete, who posted a .364 batting average a year ago and played second base before moving to the outfield for this year. “We had a great season, but then losing, I was ready to play like that next day. We were supposed to do much better, but I feel like with this team this year that we are going to go far.”

A new campaign begins today for PCC with a doubleheader at USC Sumter. Another doubleheader is set for Sunday at USC Sumter, and Pitt will play Wednesday at Mount Olive JV before holding six of the following seven games at home.

The Bulldogs’ Region X schedule begins Feb. 23-24 with three total games versus Patrick Henry CC.

“You love to win all the time, but it’s one of those situations where you have to become hot in early May,” said Pitt coach Tommy Eason, who took over the program in the summer of 2005. “That’s what we are kind of working toward and getting our pitching staff ready for that kind of situation. The biggest thing with obviously our number of guys who left (from last season) and moved on to four-year programs, you are trying in the recruiting world to recruit better than what you lost.

“You can use the domino effect in a program and bring in good players and bring in good character kids, and usually that helps continue the winning tradition that we have.”

LaFollete is part of an outfield that also returns Trevor Losito, who scored 29 runs last season and led the Bulldogs with 11 stolen bases. Power bat Joey Goldsmith is back at third base.

“I think our offensive side is more veteran, and we (added) a couple more transfers,” Eason said.

Sophomore Dylan Patrick is looking to lead the Bulldog pitchers after he made 12 appearances (6-1 record, seven starts) and finished with a 3.11 ERA as a rookie. Ten of PCC’s 12 pitchers are freshmen, and only one is left-handed.

Eason said the nonconference games during the coming weeks will help sort out pitching roles and strengths.

“During this time of year, you are going to have to use all of your pitchers,” he said. “That was one thing in the fall we weren’t capable of doing, because of Hurricane Florence and things like that. We really didn’t find our face on the mound. We were able to throw a lot of bullpens, but in terms of outside competition we were limited.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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