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Blue takes over the River baseball coaching post

By TRACY WATSON

For The Times Leader

HANNIBAL – With years of experience in local youth and high school baseball as a head coach, assistant coach and long-time Ohio Valley umpire, Tim Blue comes full circle in 2021, returning to his alma-mater to take over the baseball program at River High School.

And while taking over any program in this day and age is not an easy situation, coming off a last campaign in 2020, Blue is thrilled to be back with the Pilots and looking forward to the challenge.

“Without a doubt it’s a tough situation to be taking over anywhere right now but we have a great group of senior leaders and kids that not only have a great work ethic but are good teammates and all strive to do well in their schoolwork as well.”

Blue’s resume includes being a head coach for a local travel baseball team as well as a stint as head coach at Bellaire St. John High School and assistant at Monroe Central. To go along with that he was also well entrenched, and very respected, behind the plate for 22 years.

The 15-player roster he will be working with includes six seniors, five sophomores and three freshmen, which basically means that over half of the roster has never taken the field to play in a high school baseball game.

However, Blue has three seniors on the roster who are all striving to play the game at the next level, two of which have been starters since their freshmen campaigns. Those two are shortstop/second baseman Jake Rose, who will also be the team’s ace on the mound, and Carter Dennis (catcher, pitcher, left field), who is also a three-time All-Ohio performer at linebacker for the River football team. The third player in that group is Mark Martie, who will get the call in centerfield as well as on the mound.

The remaining three seniors, who will all be starters, include Connor Hunter (2B, 3B, P), Jagger Knight (1B) and Chris Heavener (RF). The sophomore group will be led by Brody Lollathin, a middle-infielder and pitcher, with Elijah Wayt (C, LF) and Mexican-exchange student Max Castro (3B, C, OF) rounding out the starting lineup. Other sophomores available are Isaac Howell (OF, P), Ethan Fowler (OF) and River Thompson (1B, 3B, P).

A group of three freshmen will include Brady Harlan (OF, P), Hunter Nething (1B, 3B, P) and Finn Bowers (OF, P).

A total of three seniors who did not get to compete in their final season before graduating were Parker Blue, Cy Kraft and Bailey Brandon.

“We have three kids with ambitions, and the abilities, to play at the next level and they are going to need to be our leaders,” Blue admitted. “But with no juniors currently on the roster we need our sophomores and freshmen to come along quickly and contribute. Obviously, there wasn’t a lot of baseball played last year, but we did four kids play a limited number of summer games together in Marietta in Rose, Dennis, Martie and Lollathin.

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