Calhoun shines at fifth in nation
By Michael Wetzel
Jim Morrill likes what he sees when he looks at the composite of his baseball team.
He doesn’t like what he sees on his team’s schedule.
Morrill has the Calhoun Community College squad at 36-6 and ranked fifth nationally in the latest National Junior College Association poll.
“We all play this game to get to the World Series,” Morrill said. “But we’ve got to get through the likes of Shelton State, Wallace-Hanceville and Northwest-Shoals.”
After dropping the first game of a three-game series on the road at Shelton State 8-5 on Friday, Calhoun is 15-4 in the Alabama Community College Conference North Division. A doubleheader with Shelton in Tuscaloosa was rained out Saturday. Two games will be played Sunday with the first pitch coming at 2 p.m. A Warhawks sweep will put Calhoun back in first in the North.
In their second year back after a five-year victim to budgetary cuts, the Warhawks have their sights set on the state tournament in Dothan beginning May 12.
“For us to get out to the Series, we’ve got to be playing well at the right time,” said Morrill, who directed Calhoun to a 42-17 mark in 2006.
“So far our pitching is what’s made the difference this year.”
Calhoun is getting another stellar year from sophomore pitcher Jay Sivley. The coach says the 26-year-old from Hartselle is the perfect Friday night starter.
“He’s been a great pitcher since he arrived here,” Morrill said.
“Because he’s older than the other guys, he’s got a little different perception out there. He brings a lot of maturity to the clubhouse and he’s been our
main guy and a great leader for the kids here.”
Sivley is 8-1 with an ERA under 1.50 after Friday night’s loss.
“He’s been able to throw his curveball for strikes at any time,” Morrill said.
Right-hander Kelly Williams, a freshman from Meadville, Pa., and righty Matt Brown, a sophomore from New Orleans, are Calhoun’s other two top arms, Morrill said.
At the plate, Bennie Holcey, a freshman outfielder from Opelika, has opened some eyes this year. Through last week, Holcey was batting at a .424 clip with three doubles, three triples and 20 runs batted in.
“Bennie has been a real pleasant surprise for us,” Morrill said.
Adding punch to the lineup is Daryl Otwell, a freshman infielder from Glencoe.
“Otwell has been the power guy up to this point,” Morrill said. He is hitting .420 with seven homers and 43 RBIs.
Calhoun’s next home game is Tuesday against Lawson State in a non-conference contest.
Save $84.50 a year off our newsstand price:
Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!