The 2017 season was productive for the Mansfield baseball team. The Tigers finished second in the District 4-6A standings and reached the bi-district round of the playoffs.
But what is even more exciting for Mansfield is the prospect of next season.
The Tigers return a number of key players, including short stop Ommar Jackson, a first-team all-district selection who was just a sophomore in 2017.
“Ommar has really done a good job securing the middle of our infield on defense and providing a solid switch-hitting bat in the lineup,” coach Randy Davis said. “He grew up a lot this year in becoming a threat offensively with his bat and speed on the bases.”
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Davis said with next season being his junior year, he is expecting Jackson to add another dimension to his game.
“Next year, with two years of varsity experience under his belt, we are definitely looking for him to become more of a leader on the field,” Davis said. “I feel he is ready to take that next step after all of the varsity experience he has had.”
Jackson said he tries to bring intensity and “be a spark” for the team, and said overall, he was pretty satisfied with how things unfolded this season.
“I feel the season overall was very successful,” Jackson said. “Coach Davis and Coach (Aaron) Battle did a great job. We came together and played extremely well as a team, and even though the season ended earlier than expected, we hit some of our goals.”
With the return of such players as outfielders Grayson Tatrow and Avery Chapman, as well as second baseman Jarrett Russell and a few others, the Tigers have a pretty strong nucleus heading into 2018.
Jackson said he plans to focus on hitting and improving his knowledge of the game during the off season and said he believes Mansfield should pick up right where it left off next season.
“Even though we lost some key players both defensively and offensively, I feel that we are going to be even better than we were this year,” Jackson said. “We had some people prove that they can play and hang during the playoffs, such as Chase Stephenson and Cameron Loy with their pitching. I honestly don’t think there will be a gap in the team from this season to next season.”
Davis said that it is quite a luxury knowing he has Jackson returning for the next two seasons and said he expects the Mansfield junior to continue to improve.
“Every good ball club knows you have to be strong up the middle,” Davis said. “It’s comforting to know that we are going to have experience at the shortstop position for the next couple of years.”
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