2023 BUCCANEER BASEBALL
The Covington Buccaneers are coming off on an 8-14 season a year ago where they finished runner-up in the TRC with an 8-6 league record.
The Buccs lost a lot of talent to graduation from a year ago and will field a relatively young team in 2023 with eight returning lettermen; juniors Trey Schmelzer, Carter Owens, Jacob Tipps, Michael Hagan and Connor Humphrey, along with sophomores Tyler Jay, Tanner Palsgrove, Kian French.
The lone senior on the roster is Corey Marion.
With the loss of some key pitchers from last season, the Buccs will rely heavily on sophomore Tyler Jay and hopefully see others develop on the hill.
“Tyler Jay is our only returning starting pitcher,” said Covington coach Andy Johnson. “He earned All League Honorable Mention last year as a freshman, and we are hoping he continues to develop this year.”
Jay will also be a key contributor in the infield, along with Jacob Tipps.
“He will be our starting shortstop when he is not pitching,” Johnson continued. “He is a strong defensive player who wants to do his best to support his pitchers. Jacob Tipps will move around the infield depending on the situation. He has put a lot of time into his game in the off season, and he is starting to see the fruits of his labor.”
Junior Trey Schmelzer returns at catcher for the Buccs after earning second-team all-league last year.
“Trey is a tremendous leader for our team both in how he carries himself as a person and how he motivates his teammates to be the best version of themselves,” Johnson said.
Covington has speed in the outfield with the likes of Michael Hagan, Tanner Palsgrove, Connor Humphrey and Carter Owens. Depending on how things develop, some may be moved into the infield, but Owens is locked in at center.
“Carter Owens will be our centerfielder this spring,” emphasized Johnson. “He gets a great jump on the ball, and he is willing to go all out to support his pitchers. Carter has taken charge of our outfielders, and he has done a really good job at helping the younger guys with their skills.”
The Buccaneers hope to be in the mix in what is a very good conference.
“Miami East, Troy Christian, and Bethel will be the teams to beat in the league this year,” Johnson said. “When Riverside has Warren Shockey on the mound, they can compete with anyone.”
With a tough schedule in place, Covington hopes to peak come tournament time.
“We are hoping to improve and develop as the season progresses, and give ourselves a chance to be a threat in the tournament,’ said Johnson.