Headin’ to the Gulf

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Andalusia’s Kenna Edmondson slides into third base during the area tournament last week. The Lady Bulldogs will play Dallas County to start their regional tournament trek Friday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia softball coach Marcus Taylor said he is thankful for one thing leading into the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 4A South Regional tournament in Gulf Shores this week — tournament experience.

“I think the good thing about this is that we have a lot of tournament experience,” he said. “This is the time of year when that comes into play.”

The Lady Bulldogs (25-13) will start their trek at the regional tournament Friday morning at 9:30 on Field No. 3 against Dallas County.

Dallas County, like all good teams, has a good pitcher and are pretty good, Taylor said.

“When you hit the regional tournament, everybody you play is going to be pretty good,” he said.

But, don’t cut out Andalusia, yet.

The Lady Bulldogs have played their share good teams in many tournaments this season.

Andalusia lost to Class 6A Dothan 2-1; tied with Class 5A Enterprise before the Lady Wildcats got the win; beat Class 4A Ashford; and played Class 1A top-ranked Kinston in nine innings, to name a few.

Andalusia’s group of teams at the regional tournament includes Ashford, UMS-Wright, Jackson, St. James, Greensboro and Thomasville.

“These girls know they can compete with everybody in Gulf Shores,” Taylor said. “That’s going to make it a lot more fun. If you go down there and think you can’t compete with anybody, then that’s no fun.

“But knowing that you can compete with everybody there, that’s going to make it a more enjoyable trip,” he said.

When asked what the “keys” to success are for the regional tournament, Taylor said he wants his girls to remain “focused” and excel on defense and offense.

“We’ve got to play better defensively,” he said. “We’ve got to hit consistently. We hit the ball well at times and don’t at times. We’ve got to hit consistently and we’re going to have to hit every game.

“We’ve just got to stay focused every game,” he said. “That’s probably the hardest thing to do in any sport is to continue to stay focused when you get tired. Win or lose, we’re going to wind up getting tired because it’s a tournament format – we’ve got to remain focused throughout the whole thing.”

As far as what the team will do strategically, Taylor said they will do what has been done since day one.

“We’re going to keep doing what we do, in that if you watch Thomasville and Clarke County — we hit the ball better against Thomasville’s pitcher than Clarke County’s pitcher,” he said. “We generally do well against good pitching. Everybody there is going to have a good pitcher. We have a good pitcher. That’s what this tournament is all about.”

Monday’s rains forced the Lady Bulldogs to take shelter in the batting cages at the high school.

Anytime you get in the batting cages, that helps us, Taylor said.

“We hit a lot every day,” he said. “I think there have been two days this year where we came out here (Andalusia Sports Complex) and haven’t hit. I think that’s paid off for us.”