Cavs look to continue what they started

Published 9:59 pm Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lakeland High School’s Blake Harris will be a key force on the mound for his team this year and will be one of only three seniors on the roster. (Melissa Glover photo)

Lakeland High School’s Blake Harris will be a key force on the mound for his team this year and will be one of only three seniors on the roster. (Melissa Glover photo)

The Lakeland High School baseball team is looking to continue the revival this season that it experienced last year under the Virginia High School League’s new alignment and under new coach David Devers.

Devers said he feels good about the upcoming season.

“I know we’re going to be young, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse,” he said, later adding, “We’re just going to have to grow up quick.”

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Last year, Lakeland had seniors Jefferson Knight, Tyler Lilley, Tyler McCaw, Austin Mills and Ryan Stalnaker providing their talents to help the team go 10-11 overall. The Cavs got as far as the conference tournament semifinals before losing to King’s Fork High School.

Lakeland features only three seniors this year, but Devers said he has the same high expectations he had last season.

“We’re out here to compete for a conference title and try to move on to state,” he said. “I keep my expectations high, but at the same time I keep in mind that I have some new faces up on varsity this year.”

One of the returning faces, though, is senior pitcher/third baseman Blake Harris.

“I think he’s going to stand out,” Devers said. Before noting Harris will probably be the team’s No. 1 pitcher, the coach added, “He’s going to be somebody reliable we can run out there.”

Though he highlighted Harris, the coach said the Cavaliers will essentially feature pitching by committee this season.

Senior Joey Bradshaw is expected to contribute on the mound and in the outfield.

“Joey, toward the end of last year, became pretty solid for us out in the outfield,” Devers said, and the coach has expectations that Bradshaw will grow and improve this year.

Junior Brevin Parrish, listed last year as a shortstop/second baseman, will transition over to first base this season.

“We’re expecting big things, offensively and defensively, out of him,” Devers said, noting Parrish was pretty steady for Lakeland during a fall program.

Freshman Dixon Mills, Austin’s younger brother, has shown Devers and the Lakeland coaching staff that he can be successful in center field.

“He’s got the tools to get the job done out there,” Devers said. “He’s fast, he covers a lot of ground. Offensively, he runs bases well.”

Up-and-comers for Lakeland include sophomore catcher Chase Lewis, sophomore shortstop Jeremy Pollick, son of former Cavs coach Mark Pollick, and junior T.J. Edwards, who will see time behind the plate and on the mound.

“I think we’re going to be good,” Devers said. “I’m looking forward to getting after it.”

He said he is pleased to have a challenging Southeastern District schedule early in the season, to help his team grow and become prepared for conference play.

Lakeland opens its season on Tuesday at Great Bridge High School.