Demopolis eyes first-round clash with Tallassee

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2009

His team may not have a sterling win-loss record, but Demopolis (12-18) head coach Ben Ramer has been around long enough to know that such statistics matter very little at this point in the season.

“Records are thrown out,” Ramer said. “If records meant a whole lot right now, we probably wouldn’t be in very good shape. But we’ve got just as much chance as anybody else. Our mentality is that we’ve got to win two out of three games every weekend to get another game.”

The first postseason test facing the 2009 Demopolis Tigers comes to town in the form of Area 6 runner-up Tallassee (14-17).

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The visiting Tigers enter Demopolis as a young team that had lost five of its last six games through Tuesday’s action. However, despite the uninspiring win-loss record, Tallassee’s docket over the last few weeks has included 6A powers Prattville, Hoover and Wetumpka, as well as Beauregard, 5A’s No. 7 team.

While he admitted knowing very little about his team’s next opponent, Ramer said the Demopolis’ focus had to remain squarely on execution.

“We’ve got to go out there and play to win the ball game; be aggressive. we’re going to get thrown out some and that’s got to be okay. Trying to protect yourself this time of year leads to a quick exit,” Ramer said. “We want to keep on playing like we have. Save a few games, our guys have given us a chance to win all year. The difference at this point is throwing strikes, making routine plays and getting timely hits. We’ve got to have people at the plate that are going to get those hits.”

Senior Morgan LeCroy said one of the keys for DHS over the last few weeks has been its preparation, a trend that he says will not change this week.

“We’re just going to prepare the same way that we’ve been preparing the last three or four weeks for area games. Area games are just like playoff games for us,” LeCroy said before turning his attention to the level of competition Demopolis has faced throughout the regular season. “The Leroys and the Wetumpkas, they’re probably as good as John Carroll was last year and definitely as good as Eufaula. You can’t get any better preparation than we had this year.”

Demopolis prevailed over Eufaula in the first round of the 2008 playoffs before falling to John Carroll in the second round.

Ramer also looked to the home Tigers’ area contests as reason to believe in his team’s abilities.

“In the two Chilton County games, our mental focus, our intensity, our execution, we looked like a playoff team those two games,” Ramer said in reference to back-to-back two-run wins DHS picked up over area foe Chilton County two weeks ago. “You’ve got to play every pitch. All the little things in the game mean so much in the postseason and make a difference in the ball game.”

Demopolis turned to the services of starting pitchers Trey Oates and Shelby Speegle in order to pick up those crucial area wins. The Tigers figure to do the same Friday night against Tallassee. Those games are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Should a third game be needed, it is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday.