Adams trying to teach Mountain Lions how to win


The 2020 Pineville Mountain Lions are pictured.

John Henson, Managing Editor

(Editor’s note: The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has suspended the start of spring sports seasons until May 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This story was written before the season was delayed)

For first-year Pineville coach Kyle Adams, teaching his Mountain Lions how to win is the first step.
Pineville hasn’t posted a winning season since finishing 12-11 in 2014 and has been above .500 only once in the past 17 years. The Lions have made it to the 13th Region Tournament only once this century, and that was seven years ago.
“I think the kids are seeing I’m putting the work into it and I’m not just going to throw them out there in the fire and not be prepared. We’re trying to change the culture of Pineville baseball,” said Adams, just before the season was put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic. “They know my expectations and they are falling in line like I expect them to do. I keep telling them this is their team and they will only go as far as they want to go. I will hold them accountable and we’ll work every hard. At the end of the day, win or lose, we want to be able to say we improved.”
The Lions’ progress was slowed by flooding on their field in February, but Adams has been pleased by the work they were able to get done in the gym.
“I’ve pretty much changed everything they’ve done in the past,” Adams said. “We will be good base runners. That’s a must with me. I think everything else will fall into place. They should already know how to field and catch and throw. If we can get their mindset where it needs to be we can be pretty good.”
Adams knows something about winning as an assistant coach at Knox Central the past two seasons, including the regional championship squad in 2018. He was head coach at Whitley County for six years before going to Knox.
He takes over a Pineville team that was 5-12 a year ago but lost only one senior. Adams likes the Lions’ chances of making a significant turnaround this season.
“We want to give our kids an opportunity to compete and go to the region,” Adams said. “I’m not going to come in and promise we’ll win the district the first year, but if the kids will compete and take what they have learned to the field, we’ll be fine.”
Timothy Gambrel, a junior, and Dylan Morris, a senior, are expected to see action at first base.
“Timmy is an athlete who works extremely hard. He’s a motivator who pushes the kids day in and day out in practice. He’s a good player for us,” Adams said. “Dylan will be an asset to us, especially on the mound.”
Reed Baker, a senior, is among the favorites to play second base.
“He has a good glove,” Adams said.
Reece Capps, a junior, is among the Lions’ top players and will likely open at shortstop and hit leadoff.
“He’s an athletic kid and is a leader of the team. He is the one everybody follows,” Adams said.
Jonathan Simpson, a junior, could also play shortstop or see action in the outfield,
“He’s an athletic kid with a good glove,” Adams said. “He’s an all-around athlete.”
Ty Clark, a freshman, will likely play third base.
“He has a good feel for the game with a great glove and strong arm,” Adams said.
Cody Goodin, a senior, is back at catcher, with eighth-grader Wyatt Caldwell also expected to see action.
“Cody is a utility guy for us. He can play multiple positions and is at least a three-year starter,” Adams said. “Wyatt has a good baseball IQ and will be our catcher of the future.”
Chandler Baker, a sophomore, will give the Lions the defense they need in center field.
“He has good speed and a lot of range. He covers a lot of ground,” Adams said.
Ethan Fields, a senior, and Alex Foister, a sophomore, are the leading candidates to play left field.
“Both of those kids have played outfield their whole lives and know what to do out there,” Adams said.
Austin Fuson and Brayln Kindle, both seniors, could see action in right field.
“They could play any of our outfield positions,” Adams said.
Caden Havens, a freshman, will see a lot of action in the outfield. Jadyn Hensley, a sophomore, will play several infield positions.
Baker, Simpson, Morris and Gambrel are expected to see the majority of the work on the mound.
“We’ve been throwing in the bullpen and I like where we are,” Adams said. “They have to stay focused and stay healthy because we’re in a situation where if we lose one pitcher we’ll struggle.”