Coming off a 2022 campaign that ended with a one-run loss to eventual state champion Rappahannock, Essex baseball coach Reed Harmon is hopeful that his senior-laden 2023 squad will make a postseason splash.
The Trojans’ 16-player roster features 10 seniors and 8 returnees. Five starters are back from last season’s 11-8 team.
“We were close last year and hopefully this year we will be able to go further,” said Harmon whose team reached the regional semifinals a season ago.
Chief among the returnees is 2022 Region 1A and Northern Neck District Player of the Year Kamren Robinson (senior).
A first baseman/shortstop, Robinson batted .556 last season while slugging four home runs, knocking in 27 runs and scoring 28 times in 2022. He will also see mound time this spring, Harmon says.
Another veteran returnee is center fielder Dorian Harris (senior). Last season, Harris batted .407 with 20 RBIs and 23 runs scored.
Senior Christian Weeden returns at third base and will also see action at shortstop. He hit .267 with 17 RBIs and 10 runs scored last season.
Michael Brimmer (senior) returns at shortstop after scoring six runs and driving in another six during the 2022 campaign.
Brimmer and Noah Thompson (sophomore) are expected to anchor this season’s pitching staff.
Thompson posted three wins in five starters. He fanned 23 in 25 innings pitched and will likely be called upon to pitch against the tough Northern Neck District opposition.
Brimmer struck out 17 in 17 innings of mound work last season.
“Noah did well against the Tidewater District teams last year,” Harmon said. “But, he’s gonna have to go against these Neck teams this season. Michael will follow him.”
Jordan Howard (senior) and Javione Garner-Rich (senior), a transfer from Washington & Lee, will see action at second base.
Junior Bryan Roane is expected to be the starter in left field with Will Monroe (senior) in right field.
Sophomore Jacob Durham is slated to be the team’s primary backstop. He is also slated to pitch. When he’s on the mound, look for Davione Garner-Rich (senior), another Washington & Lee transfer, to be behind the plate.
Hunter Byrd, another sophomore, will also be a part of the pitching staff. He is also listed as an outfielder.
Kyran Howard (sophomore) is also slated for mound action and will be Robinson’s understudy at first base.
Seniors Mekhi Allen (outfielder/ baserunner) and Malachi Thornton (outfielder) and junior Damari Young (outfielder) are also slated to contribute.
Essex opened its campaign with three games this week.
“If we can find a couple bats to fill in behind our top four (batters) we should be fine,” Harmon observed. “Of course, our season is going to go as our pitching goes. Noah and Brimmer have the most varsity innings and Kam hasn’t pitched much. The others are sophomores.”
Assisting Harmon this season are Charles Whitlock and R.J. Byrd.
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