When last season ended Magazine head coach Randy Loyd knew this season’s baseball team would be youthful.
He didn’t expect it to be this young.
The 16-player Rattler roster has one player — Brady Watson — who has seen a high school pitch in a varsity game. It has zero who has thrown one.
While graduation raided last year’s starting lineup, taking most of the innings with it, the exodus has also included a transfer, and a couple of players who decided to concentrate on other sports, or discontinued athletics entirely.
Almost three-fourths of the players are freshmen or sophomores.
It that weren’t bad enough, it gets worse.
A roster stacked with freshmen and sophomores will also take the field with little to no Babe Ruth experience as there was a three year period where there was not a team in the youth leagues, meaning most baseball action seen by those who will wear the red and black came from travel ball.
Consequently the schedule has been revised as well. Gone from Loyd’s typical scheduling are the likes of Clarksville, Ozark, Van Buren and others.
There are fewer playing dates and more 2A and 1A foes on the docket this spring.
Of course Loyd isn’t expecting a lot of sympathy from his opponents as the Rattlers have won three of the last four district tournaments and finished as the runner-up last year.
The Rattlers will face Lamar in 10-inning exhibition on Thursday and open the regular season by hosting Western Yell County on March 4.