Off to a good start
The Opp Bobcats varsity and junior varsity baseball teams got off to a good start on Tuesday night, defeating Elba on the road 11-2 and 12-1, respectively.
The Bobcats racked up 12 hits during the game. Jantzen Flowers, Hunter Wilson, Dillan Ziglar and Drew Smith had two hits each for Opp.
Senior Britt Wilson earned the win, pitching 3.2 innings and striking out six.
“It was a typical first game,” Opp coach Michael Cassady said. “I was very pleased with our pitching performance Tuesday night.”
Cassady is in his first year as the head baseball coach for Opp. He previously coached baseball eight to nine years ago.
He is inheriting an experienced team with seven seniors, nine juniors and one sophomore.
“I’ve got some great kids and they are ready to work,” Cassady said. “They’ve played baseball together since they were five years old.”
The Bobcats’ senior class is made up of Josh Thompson, Britt Wilson, Alex Banks, Gavin Free, Zach Sasser, Hunter Wilson and Hunter Jones.
“They’ve been playing together for a long time,” Cassady said.
Cassady said he hasn’t decided where each player will play on the field, but most are still competing for positions.
Opp has been at a disadvantage in the opening games with three players benched by injuries.
One of them, catcher Zach Sasser, tore his ACL and should be making a return in a few weeks, Cassady said.
“Our catcher last night (Dillan Ziglar) had no passed balls and did an excellent job for us,” he said.
As far as goals are concerned, Cassady said winning the area title and making it to the playoffs are at the top of the list.
“These guys’ expectations are high,” he said. “The fans and parents here want us to go as far as we can. We want to actually win the area and see what happens after that.”
The Bobcats are in Class 4A, Area 2 with Ashford, Brewbaker Tech, Bullock County and St. James. Their first area game is on March 8 against Opp.
Cassady said the approach he will take this season is similar to that of playing “small ball.”
“We’ve got a little bit of speed,” he said. “We’re trying to move people around and use the speed to our advantage. These kids so far have done everything I have asked them to do.
“I asked my best hitter to bunt two guys over (Tuesday night) and he unselfishly did. That’s what it takes to win games.”
Opp will travel today to play Headland. The junior varsity team starts at 4 p.m.