For the first time in seven years, Dawson County Tigers baseball head coach Dwayne Sapp will coach without one of his sons on the team.
His oldest, Palmer Sapp, currently plays with Georgia Highlands College and Hudson Sapp is a freshman baseball player at Ole Miss.
“I do miss not having someone in the car with me,” Sapp said. “I miss those days and getting to watch them flourish coming through high school and reaching their goals.”
Despite the change in their roster, the Tigers baseball team expects to make some noise this season. Sapp said that the bats are already looking good this season and that the pitching will catch up with practice.
This will be a young team with only five players with prior varsity experience. Carter Turkett, Nick Mullinax and Brandon Kramer make up the pitching rotation this season. Turkett and Kramer were both injured when COVID-19 abruptly ended the season last year.
Sapp said that Turkett and Mullinax have stepped up as the vocal leaders for the Tigers and “push the team to become better.”
Kinkade Weaver and Andrew Burt anchor a lineup that Sapp said contains “firepower” all the way through. Five seniors graduated last year, giving the Tigers plenty of empty spots for players to earn their spot in the starting lineup.
“Several young kids will get some chances,” Sapp said. “They’ve put in time in the weight room. Now it’s time to see what they’ve got on the field.”
Sophomore Colton Rucker is a player that Sapp said proved himself in the offseason and will get an opportunity at the top of the lineup. Luke Mulberry will also take over the catching role from Bo Lewis once the basketball season is over.
For the first time this season, the Tigers have a middle school baseball program, totaling 47 kids in the program from sixth to twelfth grade. Sapp said that despite baseball’s lack of close contact, guys can miss time due to quarantine all season and will need everyone to be ready.
“It’s kind of gonna be like a minor league thing,” Sapp said. “The next guy up. Anybody can miss time now and we’re gonna need everyone in the program to be ready to play and compete at the drop of the hat.”
The Tigers’ season starts Tuesday, Feb. 16 at home against Pickens High School.