Achieving high expectations

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Andalusia baseball coach Jonathan Rasberry said he has high expectations for the 2010 season.

This year, the Bulldogs have one thing that they lacked last season — experience.

Rasberry said the team will be made up of eight to nine players returning from last year’s team.

“I think five or six of those started or played a good bit last year,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this year in the fact that we have a little bit of experience coming back — which is always a positive.”

One area Andalusia is working on right now is pitching, Rasberry said.

“We’re trying to find our pitchers right now,” he said. “We lost a few guys last year. We have some guys stepping up here at practice, but it doesn’t matter until you get in the game.”

Rasberry is entering his second season as the head baseball coach for AHS. Last season, the Bulldogs finished 11-15 overall, and 2-4 in Class 4A, Area 3.

At this point, Rasberry has an idea of where his players will play on the field.

“I like to give the guys the best opportunity no matter what grade they’re in — the best opportunity to participate whether at the varsity or (junior varsity) level,” he said.

Rasberry said some things will remain the same and others will be different this year.

“We’re still going to keep the same approach as we did at the plate,” Rasberry said. “We’re still implementing our hard-nose, get-after-it type approach. I think as far as anything changing it would be probably that I’m going to sit back and observe a little more this year.

“I think I really tried to almost over coach last year,” he said. “I was trying to give these kids too much information rather than letting them play the game.”

This year, the Bulldogs will again be in the same area competing with Thomasville, Hillcrest-Evergreen and Clarke County.

“Thomasville and Clarke County are going to be very good again,” Rasberry said. “I think we know what to expect this year having not played Thomasville or Clarke County in the past.”

The Bulldogs will play Jackson and Greenville in a doubleheader Monday.

In addition, he said the players are beginning to understand the philosophy he is trying to get across to them.

“It goes back to that hustling and putting the ball in play,” he said. “I think they’re doing a good job without me continuing to reiterate that over and over again.

“It’s more or less really trying to push them and making them hit and run,” he said. “It’s just sitting back and hitting their way out of situations. If we can do that effectively, then that may be something I’ll allow them to do later in the year.”

Rasberry said something that’s helped his team stay focused and motivated about the season came out of an unfortunate car wreck involving his brother, Tyler.

“With my brother being in a car wreck, a lot of the boys have taken that, and really I think have done a good job helping me with that,” he said. “They have done a good job of leading each other and pushing each other.

“They kind of want to dedicate the season to Tyler,” he said. “I told them that doesn’t bother me and that it would be a good thing, but if you’re going to do it, then you’re going to play it right.”