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By Leyton Pullin
2019 was supposed to be a rebuilding year it seemed before the season began for the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks but the team found success early and often finishing with a 15-13 mark tied for second in the RCBL standings. The team found success with the longball as four Dbacks made up the top six homerun hitters in the league. When asked if he expects the same output this year Manager Les Sandridge said, “Yeah and it would be nice for us to find one or two others with big bats with the same pop.” Sandridge also mentioned the big swings of Cody Bartley and Will Haas who both found themselves near the top of the RCBL homerun chart and both part of a group of returners he expects to hold their own in the pandemic shortened season. “Triston [Childress], [Tyler] Wilcher, Cody Bartley, Brandon Minter, [and] Will Haas are all guys coming back that know what this leagues about and I expect them to hold their own,” said Sandridge.
Stuarts Draft may have found one of their other big bats in the form of new addition Jailey Paredes a 6’6” 220lb Junior. Paredes is no stranger to the Shenandoah Valley as he played last summer for the Staunton Braves in the Valley Baseball League. Paredes only hit in a few games last summer and hit two longballs and four runs batted in, in three games listed as a pitcher but played first base as well.
When asked about the compact twenty-one game season and the stress that would be put on his pitching staff Sandridge simply said, “Its gonna be tight. We’ll have to make do with what we have.” The Dbacks return another stellar arm from a year ago in Cody Bartley who put up a 4-3 record with a team high 44 punch outs.
Stuarts Draft will open their season with a two game homestand against The Montezuma Braves on June 28 and the Elkton Blue Sox on June 30 both games are at the Diamond Club.
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