DHS baseball looking to improve as season gets under way

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Demopolis High School’s baseball team kicked off their season Monday night on the road at Sweet Water.

The Tigers dropped the game 2-1 in extra innings, but head coach James Moody said the team needs more time on the field to build chemistry.

“I didn’t expect us to swing the bat well early because this is really the first pitching we’ve seen,” Moody said. “We haven’t been able to have and inter-squad scrimmages because of the weather, so it will take a little time to get used to game speed.”

Moody said one thing that concerned him was a lack of adjustments at the plate from at-bat to at-bat.

“We weren’t making adjustments at the plate like we needed to, and we really weren’t competing at the plate,” he said. “We’ve got to learn that when what we’re doing isn’t working, we have to make a change, and I think that game opened some players’ eyes.”

The Tigers struck out 13 times in the one-run loss to the Bulldogs.

Coming into the season, Moody said one of the biggest factors will be finding an identity and chemistry as a team.

“As I’ve gotten older, I don’t worry as much about wins and losses as I do about getting better each day,” he said. “We tell the players all the time that they have to approach every game like it’s the last one they’ll ever play. We tell them it’s a privilege, not a right, to play baseball at Demopolis.”

He added that baseball is a game that the players have to respect because, if they don’t, they won’t be successful.

“Baseball is a game of failure,” he said. “If you’re successful 30 percent of the time, that’s success, and players have to learn to deal with failure.”

Moody said if they don’t beat themselves and play hard each game, they will be as good as they can be.

Five players that started Monday night for the Tigers had never played in a varsity game before, and only four players on this years team are returning starters.

“It will take some time to get our chemistry and an understanding of the roles,” he said. “We’re bringing back seniors Michael Brooker, Stephen Stewart, Tyler Oates and Matt Eicher. They’ve been there and done it. We’ll get to the point of playing well together; it’s just going to take more time playing together to get there.”

He added that he’s going to have to experiment on the mound to find who will work best in what situations, but that things are a lot different from when he was head coach seven years ago.

“When I was coach before, I always had two or three guys I could walk out there and get five or six solid innings out of, but that’s not the case anymore,” he said. “And I don’t think that’s just Demopolis. I think that’s everywhere.”

The Tigers traveled to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday to face ACA, and will host a tournament Friday and Saturday. The first home game for the Tigers will be Friday night at 6:30 p.m. against Wetumpka High School. They will face Clarke County and Leroy Saturday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.