New year, new era for Coker College baseball

New face in the Coker dugout

Hartsville, SC (WMBF) - As Coastal Carolina and other Division 1 baseball teams prepare to begin practice Friday, Coker College is getting ready to begin play next Wednesday with new Head Coach Luke Harrigan.

"It's my fourth year here, I'm a senior so it's kind of bittersweet. I'm probably excited more than ever, hopefully we can go out on a good note,"  senior starting pitcher Forrest Arnold said.

Along with Arnold, the Cobras starting rotation could be the best it's been while the senior has been on campus.

Left fielder Clint Allen thinks the middle of the Coker order can provide some pop from the plate.

"We have some guys, probably two through five spot have a lot of power," said Allen. "They can do some damage to the outfield too, hit it into the gaps. We have some quick outfielders so I think we're going to be able to cover some ground as well."

The A-team of Allen and Arnold along with other seniors will be counted on this year to lead the younger guys with a new coaching staff.

"It's definitely good to have that senior group, that core group that those players can come to talk to because with a new guy he's not going to always be able to open up to the coaches right away. So having those senior core guys is pretty big for a baseball team," Forest Arnold said.

This year's band of brothers are hoping their hard work and dedication will translate into a successful season in Hartsville.

"We're pretty confident in the team. We've been working all fall since we came back from Christmas break. We're a pretty tight knit group. I would say probably the closet in the four years I've been here. So we could make something special this year," said Arnold.

The Cobras season begins at home next Wednesday, February 1st vs St. Andrews.

New year, new coach
Like many before him, new Head Coach Luke Harrigan moved south from Alderson-Broaddus University in West Virginia to get away from the cold and snow.

Having coached against former Head Coach Dave Schmotzer in the past, Harrigan was aware of the Cobras success and stuck when the opportunity became available. The two have kept in contact during the transition.

Coach Harrigan expects his team to be aggressive on the base-paths and take advantage of the dimensions of Coker's home ballpark.

A former catcher in his playing days, he believes the backstop is the most important position on the field and the traits usually carry over into a good manager.

"That's the number one piece that you have to have. Everybody knows pitching and all that, but you have to have a catcher that you can trust. So, that;s the kind of one that bonds the team and when your on the playing field you understand that you do have a leadership role. Whether you're a vocal leader of just lead by example, that's something you see a lot in coaches," said Head Coach Luke Harrigan.

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