Batter up

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 20, 2007

Although the temperatures dropped to a monthly low this week, the baseball bats and gloves have been taken out and practice is underway.

At Fort Dale Academy, the Eagles began practice this week in near freezing temperatures and drizzling rain.

The Eagles also began practice under the tutelage of first-year head coach Josh Beverly.

&#8220It's been nasty,” Beverly said of this week's weather. &#8220It was warm and dry for two weeks and then practice begins and it's 45 degrees and raining.”

&#8220I guess that's just January weather,” he added.

The Eagles began this first week of practice by just getting back to the basics of throwing, catching and hitting.

&#8220We're just getting our arms back in shape,” Beverly said.

Besides the weather, the Eagles have also had to deal with the fact that six players are still playing basketball, including Ty Newton, Cory Johnson, Adam Vickery, Bobby Martin, Kendall Gibson and Steven Lee.

Coming off a 9-12 season, Beverly is hoping that, once he has his whole team together, they can start to build something special at Fort Dale. Beverly will be assisted by Charles Oswald, his former coach, and former Fort Dale catcher Cory Ausderau.

&#8220I want to try and build a program because we have a lot of kids who are really excited about playing baseball,” Beverly said.

This year's team will be young with only two seniors and four juniors, but Beverly said his biggest obstacle is finding some pitching.

&#8220We just have to find ourselves some pitching,” Beverly said. &#8220It's a matter of finding people to put on the mound that can throw strikes.”

Beverly said he is hoping to have a pitching rotation of six or seven players.

With the regular season opening up February 26 at Sparta Academy and region play opening up March 9 at home against Monroe Academy, Beverly is hoping his pitchers will be in prime shape for region and area play.

&#8220We play in an area (with Taylor Road, Morgan and Hooper) that I feel we can compete in,” Beverly said. &#8220We just have to get out pitchers a lot of work before our region games begin.”