Lady Bulldogs have potential

Published 12:04 am Saturday, February 22, 2014

Andalusia senior pitcher Abbie Young practices Friday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia senior pitcher Abbie Young practices Friday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia has the potential to be “pretty good,” Lady Bulldogs coach Brad Garner said.

The Lady Bulldogs’ season will get underway on Tuesday at home against Enterprise.

Returning to the starting line up this year are seniors Andi Hughes and Abbie Young; juniors Emily Terry, Haley Snider and Breanna Dixon; and sophomore, Merikal McCaskill.

AHS will field 12 varsity players this season.

“I think we’ll be pretty solid in every position,” Garner said. “I think the top of our order can be pretty good. I really hand’t settled on what I’m going to do at the bottom of the order, yet.”

Andalusia lost its lead-off hitter in Olivia Dixon to graduation. Snider will be filling that void, Garner said.

“She did not slap last year, and she’s picking up on it,” he said. “It’s going to be a work in progress.”

Losing the lead off hitter isn’t such a bad thing, Garner said.

Haley Harper, who played lights out at last year’s South Regional in Gulf Shores, will take over the No. 2 spot in the line up instead of Terry.

“Quite frankly, that’ll be a better fit for Emily,” Garner said. “Emily is very good with the bat. She was the best option we had for the two-hole last year because she got the job of moving people around.”

Hughes and Young will be at the four and five spots, Garner said.

“I’m still playing around with what exactly I’m going to do (for the bottom of the order),” he said. “We’ve got some girls coming in who are going to help us.”

Solidified positions on the field include, Hughes playing at third base; Terry at shortstop; Breanna Dixon and Young will pitch and play at first base, depending on who is pitching during a game; Haley Harper at center field; and Snider at left field. Garner said he’s still mulling over second base.

The catcher will be filled by eighth grader, Millie Manring.

Andalusia will be playing in Class 4A, Area 2 again this season with Hillcrest-Evergreen, Monroe County and Wilcox Central, who the Lady Bulldogs beat pretty easily last season.

Garner said he thinks the area teams will be much better because of their athletes.

“We’re not going to assume anything,” he said.

The Lady Bulldogs made it to the regional tournament last year, but didn’t get far during the second day.

Garner said with the five-scheduled tournaments his team will be playing in during the regular season, he’s going to use them to get “mentally” ready for the postseason.

“We’ve got to do some things differently, as far as playing tournaments, instead of single games,” the coach said. “It’s the conditioning and the mental toughness of it.”

On the schedule, AHS is set to play in its two tournaments at home, and one tournament each at Pleasant Home, Straughn and Elba.

Tuesday’s opener against Enterprise will provide a good indication as to how well the Lady Bulldogs’ hitters will face a good pitcher, Garner said.

“It’s not going to be a bad thing to challenge them early,” he said. “If we have some bad at bats, I think all of them will go up there for that second or third at bat, and will make the adjustments they need to. I think it’ll be good for us. Those are the kind of people you have to hit.”