Flagler Palm Coast plans a balanced attack.
In Steve Poppe’s first season as the head coach of the Flagler Palm Coast Bulldogs, he expects his team to utilize all of its assets: pitching, power, speed.
The Bulldogs won their first two games of the season, beating Mainland twice.
Poppe said despite losing five seniors last season, this season’s team amazes him every day.
“They seem to find a way to overcome challenges that are thrown their way,” Poppe said. “They show up every day and want to get better.”
Poppe said he has a deep pitching staff, but senior Jordan Taylor and junior Nick Myers will be the workhorses in the rotation.
Taylor went 7-1 last season with 73 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings. Myers had four wins with 37 strikeouts and a 2.90 ERA over 50 2/3 innings last season.
“(Taylor and Myers) throw a lot of strikes (and) have good command of all their pitches,” Poppe said.
Offensively, the Bulldogs will also be led by Taylor. The power-hitting lefty batted .432 with 27 runs scored and 28 RBIs last season. Senior outfielder Lorenzo Butler brings speed to the table, with more than 20 stolen bases last season.
Additionally, Poppe said the team has several hitters who can drive the ball to the gaps and has plenty of depth, adding that they can manufacture runs if needed.
Poppe said he wants to instill an aggressive style of play in his team, adding that the pitchers are going to pitch to contact and keep the defense active.
“We preach to our pitchers that we would rather get a guy out in one to three pitches, rather than go deep in a count,” he said.
And the offense is going to be aggressive, too.
“We’re going to be a team that runs,” Poppe said. “We have to take advantage of mistakes by other teams.
Despite being in his first season, Poppe has been involved with the team for the past three seasons. He said the players know him, and he’s ready to see what his team can produce.
“This team has a lot of character and shows great potential,” Poppe said. “I’ve tried to create the family-type atmosphere because they’re going to have to learn how to trust everyone, respect everyone and believe that we can be successful.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jordan Taylor, Sr., P/OF: Left-handed pitcher and batter went 7-1 with 73 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings last season on the mound. Also hit .432 with 27 runs scored and 28 RBIs.
Lorenzo Butler, Sr., OF: Brings speed and power to the table and stole more than 20 bases last season while hitting .408 with 30 runs scored and 23 RBIs.
Nick Myers, Jr., P: One of the Bulldogs’ top two pitchers had four wins last season while striking out 37 batters over 50 2/3 innings with a 2.90 ERA.
Josh Greiner, Soph., IF: Can hit the ball to all fields with power and hit .302 as a freshman with 26 RBIs.