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'19 District Preview - Class 8A-District 4

Teams: Freedom, Strawberry Crest, Wharton, Wiregrass Ranch
Reigning district champion: Strawberry Crest

Coach: Tripp Merrell, 1st season
Record last season: 6-16
Notable Returners: Jeremy Carrick, Sr., SS; Kevin Kirby, Jr., 1B/RHP; Mitchell Leroy, Sr., RHP; Brylan West, Jr., 3B/RHP

Editorial take:Creating a culture key for program growth - There isn’t really a nice way to put this, but the revolving door of head coaches that has taken place at Freedom since it opened has done nothing in helping the program build a baseball culture. Since opening in 2002, Freedom has employed 10 different coaches and save a pair of one-and-done region appearances in 2012 and 2017 where the Patriots advanced despite a losing record, it has been tough to see year-to-year growth. So, the challenge is on for first-time head coach Tripp Merrell to change that. A Hillsborough County native, a Sickles High graduate in 2010, and a former Webber International University player, Merrell is very familiar wit…

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