Florala, Red Level begin seasons today

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Red Level and Florala get their seasons going tonight. | File photo

Red Level and Florala get their seasons going tonight. | File photo

Florala and Red Level will start regular-season baseball action today.

The Wildcats visit Samson, while the Tigers host Georgiana in varsity action only. Pleasant Home, who joins the other two in Class 1A, Area 3 play, starts its season Feb. 22, in a doubleheader at Geneva County.

FHS enters this season after a 2013 campaign, which saw the Wildcats finish in the second round of the state playoffs. FHS lost in a best-of-three series to Brantley.

Wildcats baseball coach Bubba Nall said he feels the boys will be competitive again this year.

“I felt like we were competitive last year,” Nall said.

Florala returns three of its four main pitchers from last year. Fans will more than likely see Austin West at center field, Brandon Russell and Chandler Holmes in the other outfield spots, Avery McNeill at shortstop, Jordan Hartline — a transfer — at second base, Levi Thames and Stephen Ratliff at either first or third base, and Austin Franklin in the infield. Kyle Price will be the catcher.

Because the weather hasn’t been able to make up its mind recently, practice time for teams, especially RLS, has been an all-time low, Tigers coach Tony Ingram said.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I don’t we’ve practice this less,” he said. “This weather has been crazy. Rain and snow and ice — we’ve had it.”

To get ready for today’s game against Georgiana, Ingram said they’ve had to “abbreviate” practices.

“You reach a point in practice where you’re ready to play,” he said. “We’re probably not there.”

Although they may not be entirely ready for the game, Ingram said his players do adjust well after being forced into different situations.

“They work hard and we’re going to go out and play hard,” Ingram said.

This season, RLS is loaded with a sophomore-junior bunch with only one senior.

Like the Tigers, the Eagles will be fielding a young team with three seniors leading the squad.

PHS coach Lamar Gibson said he’s excited and is looking forward to the start of the season.

As far as positions are concerned, the Eagles coach said the players are battling it out. Monday was the first day that Gibson had the whole team because the PHS basketball team ended its season last Friday.

“They’re battling it out,” Gibson said.

Having three local teams in the same area will bring about good competition, the coaches said.

“It aught to be a good, tight race throughout the year,” Nall said.

FHS won the area title last season, garnering a first-round home playoff berth.

“We’re going to have a bulls eye on our chest because we were area champions last year,” he said. “They’ll be gunning for us.”

There will be some good baseball being played in the county, Ingram said.

“It’s always been kind of a rivalry between all three of us,” the RLS coach said. “Being in the same area, that’s makes it more intense.

“We want to win it (area),” he said.