Tigers inch closer to swiping state record

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 22, 2006

Greenville baseball coach Bobby Hughes said at the beginning of the season that he wanted to take advantage of his team's athletic ability.

Only he didn't realize that ability would put him on the verge of rewriting state history.

Hughes' team has averaged more than 6.5 stolen bases a game and added 18 more stolen bases to its total on Thursday to tie the state record (186) by Sumiton Christian for most in a season Thursday night in a doubleheader at Eufaula.

The Tigers (11-18) only need one more stolen base during today's season-ending doubleheader at Andalusia to top Sumiton Christian's 2000 record.

The record can also be accomplished in fewer games than Sumiton Christian. The Class 3A Eagles club reached 186 stolen bases in 35 games. Greenville has matched the record after 29 games.

While Hughes said that he is excited for his team's chance to break a state record, it doesn't suppress the sting of having a losing season.

&#8220It's not like going to the playoffs,” he said. &#8220But this does give us something to shoot for.”

Lynn Lewis leads the team with 62 stolen bases, which now puts him third all-time with stolen bases in a season. Lewis surpassed Jared Nelson of St. Paul's (2000) and Kevin Harrison of Maplesville (1996), who had tied for the third-highest mark of 61 stolen bases in a season.

Harrison continues to hold the state mark with 75 in the 1997 season.

The Tigers dropped their sixth game in a row Thursday in a doubleheader sweep by Eufaula. Greenville fell in Game 1, 9-2 and then lost 17-7 in the nightcap.

&#8220We are still struggling to hit the ball, but there is no mistake that we are aggressive on the basepaths,” Hughes said.

Should Greenville break the record, Hughes feels that there is a good chance whatever record this season's team sets could be easily broken next year.

&#8220We'll be a lot better than we were last year,” he said. &#8220We lose just one senior, so a majority of our speed will be back.”