GREENBRIER - After having one of Greenbrier's best seasons in a long time, the Bobcat baseball squad is only losing one senior, giving them a few more chances to make a run at the state tournament in the next couple years.
This past season, many of the core starters, including Trey Semore, Luke Jones, Chance Merithew, Cole Bagwell and Micah Escue, were only sophomores.
"We were awful young, but we are also playing in a tough district, region and sectionals," Greenbrier skipper Tommy Williamson said. "There are still some good teams we have to play to get to state."
Three of the five sophomores had batting averages of over .400.
Semore, the District 9-AA Pitcher of the Year and an All-Area 1st team selection by The Connection, posted a 9-0 record with an ERA of 1.41. In 64.2 innings, he earned 56 strikeouts.
Jones, All-Area Hitter of the Year, racked up a .510 batting average with five home runs and 17 extra base hits.
Escue hit .463 and Bagwell hit .427 with 13 extra base hits. Both were All-Area 1st team selections.
Merithew hit .264 and had a strong defensive season at shortstop.
Three of Greenbrier's key players were juniors, including Payton and Parker Brown and Jared Bennett.
The Brown twins played right and left field and between the two of them, they drew 48 walks.
Bennett was a No. 2 pitcher, going 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA. He threw 47 innings and racked up 28 strikeouts.
Payton Brown and Bennett were All-Area second team picks.
The Cats finished just one game short of the state tournament as they lost in the sectionals in 10 innings on a controversial call. With almost their entire team returning next season, Greenbrier could very well take the next step in 2018.
Lipscomb Academy, CPA, Spring Hill and CAK, all top 10 finishers in the state last season, are moving to different classifications. This will create opportunities for new teams to emerge.
"There's no guarantee, Williamson said. "We have to take advantage of what we had this year and build on that. We can't take everything for granted. Everybody knows we're capable of playing with anybody in our division, district, regional and sectional. Everybody is excited about our future. I think our players are going to come out eager and ready to work."