Experienced Statesmen ready for deep run

Published 1:21 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Randolph-Henry High School’s varsity baseball team starts its 2017 season Tuesday, looking to build on its 2016 success, but this time in a new region and a new conference.

This year, the Statesmen move from Region 2A West to 2A East and from Courthouse Conference 37 to Quad Rivers Conference 34.

Randolph-Henry won its second Conference 37 tournament championship last season and advanced as far as the Region 2A West tournament semifinals, finishing with an overall record of 20-3.

“I’ve got high expectations,” Statesmen Head Coach J.R. Allen said of his 2017 squad. “I think we’ll have as good of a year as last year if not better, hopefully.”

Conference 34 is composed of six James River District teams, including Randolph-Henry, and it also features Brunswick High School and Greensville County High School.

The Statesmen press on without five graduates from last year — Tyler Amos, Grayson Crawford, the late Colton Osborne, Joseph Reed and Cameron Vassar.

Despite these losses, R-H does not have any underclassmen on the 2017 roster.

“It’s actually split evenly between seniors and juniors — eight and eight,” Allen said.

He noted that senior shortstop Josh Jones, in his fourth varsity season, will be the team’s go-to guy on offense.

“On the mound, it’ll be Bradford Webb, Raleigh Duffer and Carter Strickland, along with Josh Jones throwing some,” Allen said.

Senior Kendrik Goldman will man first base, Webb, a senior, will play second base when not pitching, Duffer, a senior, will play third base when not pitching and junior Russell Schmidt will be the catcher.

Expected to hold positions in the outfield are Strickland, a junior, senior Chase Barksdale and junior Jordan Jones.

Juniors Jackson Harding and Devin Marinnino are up-and-comers who Allen expects to get playing time when Webb and Duffer pitch.

The Statesmen open their season Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Central Lunenburg High School.