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Barnard, Dishman sign with Roane State

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By Goose Lindsay, Sports Editor

Roane State didn’t play a game on Friday, but the Raiders did turn a double play of sorts as Harriman seniors Cody Barnard and Tyler Dishman signed scholarship papers to play baseball for David Lane’s squad.

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“I’m tickled to death for them,” Harriman head coach Andy Adcox said following Friday’s signing. “They’ve meant a lot to our team. Cody’s started every game since his freshman year and Tyler has pitched a lot of big games for us, istarting with winning the region championship as a freshman.”

Roane State head coach David Lane was equally excited.

“Anytime you have local talent that’s able to play you want to keep them at home and both these guys can play,” Lane said. “They’re also good students and people that fit what we want our program to be. Both these guys are good athletes, with good skills, and an excellent work ethic.”

Barnard and Dishman are considered two of the best players in Region 2-A and both are happy to be playing for Lane and the Raiders.

“It’s great knowing that I’m going to get to play for two more years and I’ll be at home,” Barnard said. “Tyler and I have been playing together since we were little kids and getting to play two more years with him is going to be a great experience.”

“I’m just thrilled Coach Lane wanted me to play for him,” Dishman added. “Knowing Coach Lane made it pretty easy for me to want to play for him.

“I also think playing with Cody for two more years is going to be fun. That makes this that much better.”

While Dishman and Barnard are teammates, their roles at Roane State will be entirely different. Barnard is expected to play either second base or shortstop and he will be adding a solid bat to the Raiders lineup while Dishman will be used a pitcher.

“We see Cody as a middle infielder with some pop in his bat,” Lane said. “He’s also a good defender and it all starts with being solid up the middle defensively.”

“I think I can play a number of positions defensively, but I know I’ve got to continue to work on my defensive skills for the next level,” Barnard said. “As a hitter, I’m not the biggest guy out there, but I try to hit for a good average. I try to sit back, wait on the pitch and get base hits.”

“Cody’s very athletic and can play any position,” Adcox said. “That versatility will help him along with his ability to hit. He’s one of those kids that adjusts really well at the plate. He can step in and face a guy throwing 85 or 87 miles per hour and he doesn’t miss a beat.”

Dishman’s road to Roane State almost ended two years ago when he was struck in the head with a vicious line drive during the 2009 Region 2-A Tournament. At the time, Dishman’s career appeared over and there was even a chance he would be blind in one eye, but Dishman never gave up and he returned to the mound better than ever last year.

“When that happened I didn’t think I would be going anywhere,” Dishman said. “That’s why I’m so excited to have this opportunity.”

“That tells you what kind of competitor he is. Both of these guys are real competitors,” Lane said. “Tyler was faced with a catastrophic injury that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to overcome, and he came back even stronger.”

Lane, however, didn’t sign Dishman because he’s a feel-good story. Dishman has uncanny ability to throw several pitches with pinpoint control as a high school pitcher.

“That’s huge,” Lane said of Dishman’s control. “A lot of kids can throw coming out of high school, but you really have to work with them on hitting their spots. Tyler already has good command of his pitches and we’ll be able to work on getting him stronger and increasing his velocity.”

“Tyler’s placement and his ability to change speeds are exceptional,” Adcox added. “He does a great job of keeping hitters off balance. Coach Lane will strengthen him up some and with Tyler’s work ethic, I feel he can make an impact.”

 “I think I do a good job of keeping the ball down and mixing up my pitches,” Dishman said. “I know I’ve got to keep working on my mechanics and I’ve got to get get stronger.”