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DHS baseball wraps up productive summer

As football practice sessions prepare to kick into full swing, the baseball program at Demopolis High has placed the finishing touches on its AHSAA allotted offseason work days.

The association allows for seven competition dates. DHS head coach Ben Ramer and his squad utilized six of those days after one such date was rained out.

“There were several things that we were pleased with this summer,” Ramer said.

Ramer’s team generally carried approximately 25 players from town to town as it worked to keep itself in shape in view of the spring season.

“We had very few players who were not involved in some other type of baseball league,” Ramer said. “So we didn’t let anybody throw a full game.”

His focus on preserving his players’ throwing arms also afforded Ramer the opportunity to see how a number of athletes performed on the mound.

“In two five-inning ball games, we usually would throw at least 10 kids,” Ramer said. “Everybody got to play. The good thing about that is that we got to see a lot of different guys in a lot of positions they’re not used to playing.”

Ramer said he and assistant coach James Moody were able to use the summer activities to get a read on the team’s development.

“The summer for us is about evaluation. It’s not about wins and losses,” Ramer said. “I was very pleased with how the kids did and the participation.”

While the team used a number of pitchers during the summer, one of the great tasks it faces before next season is identifying a few starters and relievers.

“I’ll be honest, right now it is wide open,” Ramer said. “We have some guys that, potentially, depending on their attitude and work ethic, that could be really good. We don’t have a guy with a 90-mile-per-hour fastball who can go out there and dominate. But we do have a lot of guys who we think could be really good. Some of those are going to have to go out and separate themselves.”

One of the big focuses for the team heading into to the offseason was to improve its offense, which struggled mightily at times in the 2009 campaign.

“We think we’ve got the potential to be better offensively,” Ramer said. “We don’t have pitchers that are going to go out and shut people down, so we’ve got to be better offensively. To be a good hitting team, we’ve got to swing at fastballs across the plate. We did a lot better job of swinging the bat this summer and a lot of that was from some of the younger kids.”

In addition to the AHSAA competition days, Ramer said many of his players have benefitted from their participation in summer league baseball.

“Baseball is a game of reps. And as long as you’re not wearing or tearing on your body, then you’re not getting too many of them,” Ramer said. “Definitely these guys playing in the district tournament and state tournaments, I don’t see how it could do anything but help.”