Pleasant Grove Looks to Continue Dominance in High School Baseball
It’s staying light longer, the temperatures are warming and the grass is starting to grow, sure signs that spring is around the corner and it’s baseball time at Pleasant Grove.
While the names of the players change every year, the culture of working hard, being the best you and your teammates can be, and doing the little things that lead to winning, seem to never change at Pleasant Grove in Texarkana.
The Hawks have developed a winning tradition that has been going on for quite some time now, and it starts with quality coaches who care about doing things right and care about their kids both on and off the field.
Coach Riley Fincher leads the baseball program at PG where he has guided them to the Regional Finals in 2015 and the State Semi-Finals in 2016 with a 27-5 record, which is some really good stuff. Fincher does a great job in leading the team and the results are proof of that, both on the field and in the classroom.
Assistant Coach Paul Phillips guides the pitching staff. Phillips, one of the best pitching coaches in the state of Texas brings a lot of experience to the table and has been with PG for nine years.
Assistant Coach Blake Worley has been at Pleasant Grove for seven years and has helped develop another winning tradition in girls softball, where they became state contenders over the past number of years, and he now returns to baseball.
Newcomer Jordan Knight brings some youth and added enthusiasm to the Hawks. Knight is in his third year of coaching and comes from the Bellville school district. He is expected to be involved in all aspects of coaching. .
Now to this year’s team, the Hawks have five returning starters and eight letterman from the state semi-final team last year. Coach Fincher says, “Those guys have been there, and their leadership will play a big role for the younger guys on their team.”
Fincher believes they will have a good mix of experience and first year varsity players. “We have a pitching staff that is seasoned, which should play a key role for us this year. The competition that we have at each position definitely helps our program. Our players come to practice every day with an attitude of wanting to compete and get better for the betterment of the team.”
Some of the recipe for success includes strong pitching, solid defense, and timely hitting, and that is something that PG does year in and year out.
Fincher says the team has a number of people who will be ready to head to the mound and pitch for this year’s team. It will start with seniors Caleb Bolden and Will Hlavinka. Bolden returns after a season that saw him selected 1st Team All-State and 1st Team All-District. Hlavinka was selected 2nd Team All-District.
Also returning on the mound with varsity experience,are seniors Tyler Jeans and Nathan Brinkley and Junior Carson Cox. Junior Matthew Gilley and Seniors Layne Martindale and Allen Lambert could also see action on the mound this year.
Coach Fincher looks for their district to be extremely competitive. Last year there were three teams from the district that advanced to the third round and two went to the region semis and of course the Hawks to the state semi-final. Finchers says, ” We fully expect for each district game to be a playoff type atmosphere as our district will be tough once again.”
As the season begins, the coaches and players are pumped about the opportunity that lies ahead of them according to their Head Coach, ” We are extremely excited to have a great staff this year, as we, along with our players, are excited as we have the opportunity to represent Hawk Baseball and our community day in and day out.”
Look for the Hawks to soar and hopefully a return trip to Austin in June will be in their future. Good luck and go PG.