Getting the swing of it

Published 10:30 pm Friday, July 25, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — The West Alabama 14U Babe Ruth eam took the field for practice Friday before a late afternoon storm system abbreviated the session. The team, fresh off its charge to the finals of the state tournament, is looking to make a few adjustments before it travels to the Southeastern regionals in Theodore Wednesday.

“I think we’ve got to improve on hitting mostly,” Allen Tucker said. “I believe the game against Satsuma was the best I’ve ever seen us play. But I think we can probably hit better than that.”

“We’ve just got to work in the cage mainly,” Logan Holley added. “To see a little live pitching would help.”

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“We’ve just got to work. The coaches are kind of stressing to hit the ball to the opposite field,” Jacob Roemen said.

The team managed only seven runs over its final three games of the state championship tournament, including a paltry three-run total in two games against eventual champion Cottage Hill.

“I think we can beat Cottage Hill. We’ve just got to play our best and stay focused,” Holley said of the team many West Alabama players hope to see again during regional competition.

“We’re better than that runner-up status,” Pierre Thomas said, adding that one of the keys to improving the team’s performance is maintaining a high level of confidence.

“It’s important because the confidence that one person has, the other players will feed off of it and it will show on the field and in the batter’s box. It’s important from bottom to top to come through with runs.”

Confidence and focus seemed to be the two biggest intangibles on the minds of players Friday as they looked forward to the coming tournament.

“It’s important even late in the game just to be ready and make the most of your opportunity,” David Tutt, who went 2-for-2 against Cottage Hill off the bench in the championship game Tuesday night, said. Tutt spent the bulk of the afternoon and evening on the pine, working to keep the team morale up before making his impact on the game late.

“It was big because we had to keep the team up. We were still as much a part of the team as anybody on the field,” Tutt said he and the other reserve players who found ways to contribute from the dugout Tuesday. “We need to play like we know how to. We need to limit our errors and hit the ball. Our team is good enough that we can adapt to whatever pitching they have.”

One of the lineup’s most consistent hitters during the state tournament, Jacob Dunn, feels one of the best ways to get the lineup going is to produce as an individual.

“The best would just be to get a hit and show everybody else that it ain’t that hard,” Dunn said. He was firm in his belief that the offensive struggles should be the team’s main focus as it approaches its next round of competition.

“We played solid every single game, not many errors,” Dunn said. “I don’t think we need to do anything different.”