Up & Coming Weekly

June 05, 2018

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 25 of 32

JUNE 6-12, 2018 UCW 25 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Mark Kahlenberg, head coach of the Hope Mills Boosters entry in American Legion baseball play this summer, is glad for the deep run made by Terry Sanford in this year's state 3-A playoffs. But he admits it's made his job of putting a competitive Legion team together challenging. After holding a preliminary workout a couple of weeks ago, Kahlenberg has settled on drawing from Cape Fear, South View, Purnell Swett, Terry Sanford and North Duplin for this year's squad. "We can only take 5,000 total enrollments,'' he said. "We had an open tryout." Terry Sanford made it to the 3-A Regional finals before losing in three games to Wilmington New Hanover. As of last Wednesday, Kahlenberg was waiting to hear from several of the Terry Sanford players on their plans to join the Boosters this summer. At the writing of this story, the only Terry Sanford player committed was former Bulldog Damian Puc- zylowski, who will be a member of the first baseball team at Fayetteville Tech- nical Community College next spring. "If we get a good turnout from them, I feel we'll have a great chance,'' Kahlen- berg said. "If we can get nine or 10 of the guys we have listed to pitch, I feel good about being in that state final eight in the middle of July.'' Even without the Terry Sanford players, the Boosters are off to a good start. ey were 2-0 entering their first home game of the season last Wednesday against Wallace, which was rained out after being moved from their usual home field at South View to Methodist University. Kahlenberg figures competition will come from the usual suspects, traditional powers Whiteville and Wilmington Post 10, along with a Wallace team that returns with a solid core from last season. A couple of Hope Mills returnees looking for a good year are Puczylowski and South View's Riley Caudle. Puczylowski is looking forward to a reunion with his Terry Sanford teammates. "If they all get out here, we'll dominate,'' he said. Caudle said Legion baseball is a great environ- ment. "You get to meet new people and you play so many games,'' he said. A major change for Legion ball will be a switch to seven-inning games this summer. Kahlenberg thinks the change will allow teams to lean more heavily on their top two or three pitchers. "A lot happens when you get into the bullpens,'' he said. "We will have to place more emphasis on scoring runs early and trying to get into other teams' bullpens earlier.'' e team has planned a special ceremony to honor longtime Hope Mills coach Doug Watts, who retired and recently moved to the coast after 51 years in American Legion baseball. e ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. on June 9, a Saturday, when Hope Mills plays Jacksonville. Craig Raye has barely been on the ground with his Westover football team a year, since he was a late hire prior to the 2017 season. at's why an emphasis on this year's spring practice for the Wolverines was getting to know everyone and taking time to evaluate newcomers to the roster. e good news coming out of spring is that it looks like Westover is going to have some depth to work with this season. "A lot of our first liners weren't here,'' Raye said, referring to football players who were taking part in other spring sports for the Wolverines and missed the spring conditioning program. "We had the op- portunity to work with some of the younger guys and give them some more individual attention.'' e Wolverines were 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the Patriot Athletic Conference last year, advancing to the state 3-A playoffs and losing 76-12 to Southern Nash in the first round. "I think my biggest liability was not knowing some of the kids, and we had to play them out of position,'' Raye said. "We wanted to re-teach any- thing that wasn't taught the right way and get my philosophy in. I think that's what we've accomplished.'' Looking ahead to the fall, Raye thinks the Wolverines will be strong in the running game, led by the return of running back Dmarion Ford. Ford missed spring drills because of his involvement with the Westover track team. He led Westover in rushing last season with 633 yards. He was an excellent kick returner, and Raye plans to make full use of that skill this season. "We're going to give the ball to him every opportu- nity we have,'' Raye said. "Several colleges have been here to recruit him this year.'' Other veterans returning in the backfield for Westover are Da'niel King and Keyshown McLean. Anchoring the offensive and defensive lines will be senior Pernell Shoulars, who stands 6-feet-5 inches tall and weighs 300 pounds. "We expect him to lead the pack,'' Raye said. Shoulars said the team has already gotten a lot closer as the result of the spring workouts. "Coach Raye came in with a take charge attitude,'' Shoulars said. "He needed things done his way. Over the course of last season, we learned to accept his way, and that's helped us in the long run.'' Shoulars agrees with Raye that Westover should be able to run the football. "We've got some big boys in the middle and guards that are quick on their feet,'' he said. "Last year we were great in the passing game, and I don't think that's going to die down any.'' Westover will open the season with 4-A rival Seventy-First this fall, and Shoulars has set the bar high for himself. "I want to get at least seven tackles and three sacks,'' he said. Shoulars knows the Wolverines will face a major challenge in the Patriot Athletic Conference, but he's looking forward to it. "It got tougher for us, but that only makes us the bigger underdog when we beat everybody,'' he said. "If we can get discipline, I don't see a team beating us.'' HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS Hope Mills Boosters still looking for right pieces this summer by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Learning process continues for Westover, Raye by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Pernell Shoulars Damian Puczylowski 10 20 30 40 40 30 20 10 50 10 20 30 40 40 30 20 10 50 10 20 30 40 40 30 20 10 50 10 20 30 40 40 30 20 10 50 10 20 30 40 40 30 20 10 50 10 20 30 40 40 30 20 10 50 10 20 30 40 40 30 20 10 50 10 20 30 40 40 30 20 10 50 20 30 40 40 30 20 10 50 10 20 30 40 40 30 20 50 MONDAY & BRINGING YOU THE BEST IN CUMBERLAND COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS 6-8pm

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