By Emmanuel Morgan
HUNTERSVILLE – Hopewell High’s baseball team has endured a turbulent season.
The Titans, although not spectacular, are 13-7 overall and 9-4 in the MECKA 4A conference. Coach Chet Greeson, who played at Western Carolina, remains upbeat and positive as his team is preparing for a postseason run.
“This season has been up and down,” Greeson said. “We’ve been on a roller coaster all year … there’s times we’ve played well and there’s times we have not.”
A problem for Hopewell has been hitting efficiency. The Titans have a subpar team batting average of .291 and only one home run. The lack of run scoring has led to bouts of disappointment.
“We are not scoring runs and it is tough to put that much pressure on our pitching unit,” Greeson said. “We expect them to be on top of their game and hold other teams to one or two runs per game when in reality we can’t score ourselves. The fact that we can’t hit the ball has been our nemesis.”
Even though Hopewell’s offense is shaky at times, the team makes up for it with extraordinary pitching and solid defense. The staff, led by Tristan Baker and Alon Smith, has a team earned run average of 1.37 and a fielding percentage of .961. In 48 innings pitched, Baker is 5-1 and has struck out 58 batters. His ERA is 0.72.
Smith has a 2-1 record and a 1.63 ERA. He has struck out 44 batters in 30 innings. He and Baker are among the best 12 ERA’s in the state.
The regular season ends May 1 with a conference game against A.L. Brown, and Hopewell is hoping for a solid postseason performance. Hopewell is third in the conference standings behind North Mecklenburg and Hough. Greeson believes his team can turn some heads in these playoffs.
“I like to think that we’re getting better every day,” he said. “We’re constantly working on things that need improvement. If we play like we’re capable, I think we can make a decent run in the playoffs.”