Meridian Star

February 20, 2014

Northeast Lauderdale counting on the little things to make difference

By Austin Bishop \ Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

— MERIDIAN — Josh Snider may be a first-year head baseball coach, but he has been around the game enough to know what results in wins.

“We are going to have to do all the small things right,” Snider said of his Northeast Lauderdale High School Trojans, who are are set to open the season in the Lauderdale County Tournament on Feb. 28 against West Lauderdale.

“We are going to have to be a smart team — play defense, have quality at

bats and produce runs,” he said. “We are not going to knock the ball out of the ballpark. That’s just the way we are. “We are going to throw strikes, put bunts down, get the hit and runs down, put pressure on defenses and manufacture runs,” he said.

That style is something Snider should be very familiar with, having played for coach Jerry Boatner at West Lauderdale High School. Snider, who was an assistant at NEL last season, said the Trojans lost several key players off last year’s team, but noted that several key seniors are returning, and there is a lot of youth coming into the program.

“That is one thing that I like the most about this team — the depth that we have,” Snider said. “We had a pretty good ninth-grade bunch, and we expect them to contribute.”

Among the returnees Snider will be counting on are senior second baseman Mikey Meyers, senior center fielder Blake Sanders and senior shortstop Ben Smith.

“On the mound, we don’t have a lot of experience,” Snider said. “Ben Smith is looking to be our No. 1 guy, because he has some experience on the mound.”

Snider also said Landon Keller and left-hander Devin Sisson would get some time pitching.

When it comes to hitting, Sanders will be at the top of the order, while Smith will likely hit in the two or three spot. He said he was also looking for a good season offensively out of Andrew White.

While Snider played at East Mississippi Community College, he will be joined on the coaching staff by a trio of former Meridian Community College Eagles in the form of Drew Snider, Tyler Vick and Todd Doolittle. After opening the

season against WL in the Lauderdale County Tournament, which is being played at Southeast Lauderdale this year, the Trojans face Clarkdale on March 1 in day two of the event.

The first home game for the Trojans comes at 7 p.m. March 4 when Neshoba Central pays a visit.