AHS baseball hits the field

Published 12:16 am Saturday, February 28, 2009

With the season already under way, the Andalusia Bulldogs baseball team is ready to put last season behind them and are anxious to make it past the first round of the playoffs this year.

Last season, the Bulldogs made it to the first round in the Class 4A playoffs, but lost to Jackson, 8-6.

The Bulldogs ended their season with a record of 17-14, a winning season nevertheless.

Andalusia first-year coach Jonathan Rasberry said his team is off to a good start but still has much to learn.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Rasberry said. “Our kids are working pretty hard and there is a lot of baseball left to be played and a lot of baseball left to be learned.”

One thing Rasberry said his team is learning is a whole “new” approach at the game.

”They are learning a whole new ball game with me,” he said. “It’s a different approach into a lot of things especially hitting approaches. The overall aspect of the game is different.

“We’re working real hard and that’s the good thing,” he said. “The kids are working real hard.”

Before taking the helm at Andalusia, Rasberry was the head coach at Escambia County (Ala.) High School, where he led his team to the Escambia County baseball tournament title at this time last season.

Rasberry said he is fortunate that his second head coaching job is in Andalusia.

“I’m glad I’m over here now because I get to take the stuff I leaned over (in Escambia), even the mistakes and other things, over here to continue to get better as a coach,” Rasberry said. “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose games. The ultimate goal is to get these kids to learn the game that you’re trying to teach them.”

As it is still early in the season, Andalusia is trying to find where players fit on the field.

Rasberry said his team is going through an “experimental” time right now.

“We’re starting to come together a little bit and we’re starting to figure out who can go where and do what so it’s a lot of experimental time at the beginning of the season,” he said.

Rasberry said his team’s goals are to win area and make it past the first round of the playoffs.

“We’ve got Thomasville that is going to be in our area,” he said. “We’ve got Clarke County who has got athletes and they are going to be a good ball team also. We’ve got Hillcrest who actually has a couple of pitchers who can surprise you.

“Another goal can definitely be going deep in the playoffs and giving ourselves a chance at the state playoffs,” he said. “In order to do that, we’re going to have to play some good baseball. I hope by the time we hit area play and towards the end of the season we’re where we need to be.”

One thing that Rasberry has learned from Escambia County and has brought to Andalusia is “experience.”

“There is nothing like having all the pressure on you as the head coach,” Rasberry said. “I think I learned last year how to deal with all the situations. I think I’ve learned to calm myself down a lot. I used to get kind of amped up and get into the game so much.”

“After a year of coaching I’m kind of glad to get that out of the way,” he said. “Now, I’m able to relax a bit more and do exactly what I want to do.”

Andalusia will be playing in the Opp tournament today and Sunday.

Play today starts at 4 p.m. and at noon on Sunday in Opp.