Will Haynie is already about halfway to his preseason goal.
With the majority of the baseball season to play, the powerful 6-foot-5, 220-pound Brentwood Academy slugger already has belted seven home runs, which puts him at or near the top of all Nashville-area hitters. That goes with a team-high 21 RBIs. Oh yes, and he’s also batting .655.
“My goal is 15 homers,” the powerful junior catcher/pitcher said Thursday afternoon. “I’m really seeing the ball well, and I hope I can keep it going.”
Heading into a key three-game home series with Chattanooga Baylor this weekend, Haynie leads a solid offensive attack for the Eagles (7-5, 2-1). The series starts 3 p.m. Friday and continues with a doubleheader, 11 a.m. Saturday.
“I didn’t play basketball after my sophomore year so I could just concentrate on baseball,” Haynie, who has hit some mammoth shots, said. “I spent the entire winter in the weight room, working on my strength and conditioning. My coaches have also really helped me with my [hitting] mechanics.”
Batting third, Haynie takes note of the table setters who precede him.
“[Leadoff batter] Kyle Conger does a great job of getting on base, as well as Connor Johnson,” he said. “When those guys get on, it really sets things up for us.”
Haynie’s seventh homer was a grand slam during an exciting 12-11 victory over Greenwood (Ind.) Wednesday afternoon. The Eagles rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
He had nine home runs last season.
“Will’s really seeing the ball well, and he’s off to a great start,” coach Buddy Alexander, in his 18th season at BA, said. “He’s rededicated himself to the sport, and he’s been a huge factor for us.”
Haynie was hopes to lead BA back to the state title.
He played regularly as a freshman in 2010, when the Eagles won their third title in as many years. In fact, he hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the state championship game.
BA was the only area team to make the Division II-AA final four last year but was eliminated without a victory.
This season Brentwood Academy is in the middle of the usual tough, air-tight DII race.
“Ryan and BGA have a lot of pitching depth, and MBA is right there, too,” Alexander, whose team faces Ryan on Tuesday, said.
Lefty Hunter Wood, the Eagles’ ace, is expected to get the ball in the opener against. Baylor.
“Hopefully we can get back [to the state tournament] again,” Haynie said. “Everyone is all on board. I remember as a freshman how good that team was, with Will Blalock and all those guys. Many of them are playing in college.”
• Ryan names coach: Father Ryan has announced that it has hired Mark Williams as its offensive coordinator for football under coach Bruce Lussier. Williams served as offensive line coach for Mountain View (Ga.) High and has more than 11 years of coaching experience.
• NCS ace back: Nashville Christian School lefty pitching ace Savannah Womack is expected back in the lineup this week after suffering an ankle injury last week.