Fluco baseball team is young and talented

By Duncan Nixon

Weather permitting, the Fluco baseball season is already underway. Coach Joel Gray is looking forward to a successful season, but can’t be sure how things will work out,  due to the considerable youth of his squad. The team has only four seniors and has eight players returning. The rest of the squad are first timers and the Fluco coaches are still not sure who of the newcomers will be “grinders” who can make significant contributions.

The pitching staff looks strong and that is always a key factor. Two returning juniors have already committed to Division 1 programs. Joe Gomez has committed to Virginia Commonwealth University  and J. J. Glasscock will be off to West Virginia. Gray said that these two both have high velocity fastballs (Glasscock over 90 mph and Gomez close behind) and can deliver four different pitches. They will be complemented on the mound by junior left hander Nathan Gregg and hard throwing freshman Camdyn Via, who may be used primarily as the team’s closer.

Gray’s infield will be a mix of experienced players and youngsters. Two first basemen will be senior Grant Brown and sophomore Maddox Warren. Brown will be playing in his third sport of the school year. He was an outstanding lineman on the football team, a valuable back-up forward on the basketball squad and now a first baseman on the baseball team. At second base, Gray will have senior Tristan Chisholm and freshman Christian Lounsbury. Patrolling the left side of the infield will be sophomore Ryan Mann at shortstop and Via at third when he is not on the mound.

When the pitchers listed above are not on the mound, they will be Gray’s outfielders. Behind the plate Gray believes he is especially strong. Junior B.B. Cox can hit and is solid on defense. Two freshmen are also promising receivers. Gray noted that Cody Peck and Thomas Custer have good potential.

Not surprisingly Gray, who has a state championship on his resume, said that he will emphasize pitching and defense. Those are the things that win ball games. Of course, a team also has to score some runs. In a recent scrimmage, Gray said that the Flucos faced a pitcher who had 90 plus speed and they managed base runners and had only a few strike-outs. That is a positive sign. The Flucos play in the tough Jefferson District and several of the schools they go up against have significantly larger student bodies to draw upon, but the Flucos have always been very competitive in baseball. Gray said that a tough opponent this year will be Western Albemarle, which is not one of the really big schools. This year may not be a big year by the Fluco’s past standards — that remains to be seen. But look out in 2023.

The Flucos were scheduled to play at Albemarle and at Louisa early this week. Their home opener is scheduled for Friday, March 18 against, non-Jefferson District, Chancellor High.  Of course, early season games are always subject to possible weather cancellations.

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