J.H. Rose’s offensive duo of Greg Hardison and Tyshawn Barrett have slugged the Rampants baseball team to an undefeated start to the season. Barrett is batting .548 and Hardison .486, each with 17 RBIs for the 12-0 Rampants.
They also do it on the base paths. Hardison has 12 stolen bases in 14 tries, and Barrett is 9-for-9.
“When (Hardison) gets on base, we’ve got a chance because he scores a lot of runs,” Rose coach Ronald Vincent said. “Tyshawn is just swinging the bat great this year. He’s had a lot of big hits for us, and he has made a lot of great plays.”
Hardison’s play is earning high praise from rival coaches.
“Hardison is the key to their team, and every time he gets on base, he’s going to score,” D.H. Conley coach Jason Mills said. “We talked all week about keeping Hardison off the bags, and we didn’t do it (before their March 16 game). ... He’s one of the best players in the state. He can make so many things happen offensively.”
The Rampants are a year older and wiser and are bearing the early fruit after playing a lot of inexperienced players who finished last season 18-8 and 7-5 in the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A before advancing to the fourth round of the playoffs. Rose knocked out Cardinal Gibbons but eventually fell to 4A runner-up Green Hope.
“We’ve got a lot of players back from last year,” Vincent said. “Hope we can keep it rolling. Our hitters did a better job this year than last year.”
And of course, pitching always helps.
Starters Michael Crumpler (1.17 ERA) and Hunter Christopher (0.52) and relievers Chandler Hallow (0.48) and Ross Johnson (1.91) give Rose four arms that are hard for opponents to match on any given day.
Christopher leads the foursome in strikeouts with 25 in 27 innings. Vincent pointed out the improvement with the junior right-hander over last year.
“He’s throwing the ball quite a bit harder, and he’s getting his breaking ball over (the plate),” he said. “You hear coaches talk about this: He’s much more comfortable and poised on the mound.”