SHS boys to hold tourney

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 19, 2010

Three teams in Covington County will vie for the top spot Straughn High School’s first baseball tournament this weekend.

Andalusia High School and Red Level High School will join Straughn in a seven-team field in the tournament, which will be held at SHS and the Andalusia campus of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

The tournament will be a double elimination format with visiting teams that include New Brockton, Dale County, Butler County Magnet School and Elba.

Straughn will start things off at 4 p.m. against New Brockton at LBW, Dale County will play Butler Magnet at 4 at SHS, and Andalusia will play Elba at Straughn at 6.

Red Level will start its tournament play on Saturday at 9 a.m., at LBW against the winner of the Straughn-New Brockton game.

The final three games will be played at Straughn, which includes the championship game, where one game will be held and one team will win the title.

Straughn coach John Fussell said for the last three baseball seasons, he has been on the road for tournaments and decided to host one this year.

“We decided since we weren’t going anywhere this spring (for spring break) that we would host our own tournament,” he said. “I called (LBWCC) coach (Steve) Helms, and he was gracious enough to let us use his place at LBW.

“There would have been no way to play a double elimination tournament on one field,” he said.

Fussell said the “keys” to success for his team include but are not limited to hitting pop ups, making plays in the field, cutting down on strikeouts and playing better defense.

In addition, Fussell said if everything turns out like he wants it to, his team could be playing three to four games in one day this season, noting the fact that his players just got done on Monday playing an eight-game stretch in five days.

“It’s going to be interesting if we continue to play on Saturday,” Fussell said. “Depending on how many things shake up, we may play three or four games on Saturday. I’ve got some guys that have some soreness. They’re going to have to work through it.”

Admission to the tournament is $5 per person each day and tickets will be good for both fields.

Andalusia coach Jonathan Rasberry said his team needs to play “good baseball” in order to have some success this weekend.

“We need to go out there and play good baseball and get after it starting (today),” Rasberry said. “If we leave it on the field and play well, hopefully we’ll be playing in the winner’s bracket.

“We’re going to need every player on the team to participate,” he said. “We’re going to have to do a good job of playing team baseball this weekend to be successful, and it’s a great opportunity for us to get the ball rolling before area starts next week.”

After losing to Excel Tuesday night in a doubleheader 6-4 and 6-2, Red Level coach Tony Ingram said taking advantage of “opportunities” is a must.

“We’ve got to make use of the opportunities,” he said. “There are so many times to get runners on. We’ve got to move them over.

“Our pitch selection is still not good,” he said. “We’re doing the little things wrong at the plate and we’ve got to adjust to get better. That’s always a good thing about baseball — you’ve got a game around the corner. We’re looking forward to it.”

Fussell said one more good thing about this tournament is that it will be a chance for high school players to play on a bigger field.

“I think it’s going to be exciting for some high school kids to have the opportunity to play on a junior college baseball field,” Fussell said. “I think it’s going to be a good tournament.”