A father-son team

Published 12:03 am Thursday, April 26, 2012

Opp’s Dane Buckelew makes a tag at home plate during his team’s 11-4 win over T.R. Miller Saturday at Merchants Field. Buckelew has had his father, David, be a part of his baseball teams since he was a young boy. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Opp’s Dane, David Buckelew set for playoffs

One summer a couple years back, Dane Buckelew didn’t feel right playing the sport he loves so much.

That was the first year he didn’t have his father, David, on his team in some way, shape or form.

Since he was a young child, Dane has had his father as a constant supporter throughout his playing years in the Opp city league and for the past four seasons during high school as an assistant coach.

Opp assistant coach David Buckelew (center) gets ready for another inning in an earlier contest.

David and Dane will once again unite on the diamond Friday in the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs, as the Opp Bobcats will visit Bayside Academy in Daphne at the Bayside Academy Sports Complex.

For the past two years, David has been calling pitches under OHS coach Michael Cassady, and has been giving the pitching signals to Dane, a senior catcher for the Bobcats.

“Dane knows how to pitch,” David said. “He’s pretty familiar with what we’re going to do — pitching wise. He knows what kind of ball speed and where (the pitcher’s) going to be throwing it.”

For Dane receiving the calls from his father, he said it’s just a matter of “trust.”

“I just trust whatever he calls, and what ever the pitch is going to be the best pitch for him to not be able to touch it,” Dane said.

Before each game, David said Dane receives a list of pitches the Bobcats will throw against their opponent at the plate.

Memorizing them isn’t that tough, Dane said.

“He’s been beating it in me since I was little,” he quipped.

In the game on Friday, the Bobcats will face a Bayside Academy team with a 26-6 record on the season. The Admirals are also ranked No. 6 in the classification.

“They’re a good team,” Dane said. “They’re good defensively. They can hit the ball.”

On Saturday, the Bobcats beat T.R. Miller 11-4 in the third game of the first-round series. Each round of the playoffs is the best-of-three games.

In the victory, Dane was a mastermind behind the plate, throwing two runners out on base and getting one out on Cassady’s call.

When asked what it was about that day that led him to so much success, Dane said it was all “the Lord’s” doing.

Even David said that was a “memorable” game.

“The last game he played was probably about as good a game as he had,” he said. “He had a big hit in that game, too.

“That game stands out to me more this year than any other,” he said. “Because he was so involved in throwing (three) guys out. He was instrumental in blocking up balls and throwing runners out. He had a real good game Saturday.”

Dane said it’s a lot of “pressure” to play under his father, but in the long run, he’s gotten used to it, especially since he began playing ball for OHS as a freshman.

“Every field I’ve been on, he’s been there too,” he said.

And David will be with Dane again on the field Friday in Daphne.

David works at Copy Product Company and has a wife, Carrie; and a daughter, Madi, who is a sophomore at OHS.