Clovers look to rebound from rough '08 campaign

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Cloverdale senior Link Lovins readies for a ground ball during a recent CHS practice. Lovins is one of four seniors that will help lead the Clovers this season.

After going 1-21 in 2008, the Cloverdale High School baseball team can only go one direction --up. And it's could be a bumpy road.

The Clovers head into the 2009 season under new leadership as Bryan Archer has been given the task of turning the Clovers into a winning ball club, but it is not going to be an easy task.

Archer inherited only a handfull of seniors and a few other upperclassmen to help lead his squad this year and he is hoping that it is enough.

"We don't have that big of a senior class, but from the seniors we do have I've seen some good leadership," Archer said. "I'm hoping the juniors step up and lead also.

"One thing that I have been emphasizing to the freshmen on the team is to ask the seniors or juniors when they see them do something, so when they get in that spot they will know what to do," Archer said.

If someone would ask Archer how his team feels after going 1-21 last year, they might be shocked by the answer.

"I think for the guys that are coming back, they are looking to prove people wrong," Archer said. "A lot of teams this year are going to look at us as the team from last year and these guys want to prove that is not who they are."

With having small class es of seniors and juniors, the Clovers will have to mix it up this year if they want to go anywhere.

One key player this year for the Clovers is Link Lovins. He is one of the few returning seniors and according to Archer, he's going to be the Clovers go to man.

"Link is going to be a workhorse for us this year on the mound and at first base," Archer said. "I mean how could we not have a 6-foot-9-inch first baseman out there? We just need him to learn how to stretch that body out there to make the plays."

Lovins might be doing the majority of the pitching for Cloverdale, but one thing that Archer does have this year is a deep bullpen.

"We are young this year, but we have a lot of strong arms and a variety of pitches," Archer said. "We have Link, who is a power thrower, and then we have guys like Jeff Dale who throws off speed.

"Then we have Chad Cummings. He will be throwing some for us this year and the thing about him is that he throws with velocity and can throw off speed as well," Archer said.

One thing that Archer does like about his team this year is the speed that it possess.

"I like the speed we have," Archer said. "John Alexander, Ethan Atwood, and Zak Osburn will be a threat this year if we can get them on base and Chad Cummings will be one that we rely on to do that."

Last season, Cummings had a batting average of .344 during his 11-game tenure.

"We are full of talent and chances this year," Archer said. "The players just have to work hard to get what they want and they know that."

Cloverdale opens its season on May 31 when it travels to Southmont for a 6 p.m. showdown with the Mounties.