Opp baseball has eyes set on blue map

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 27, 2015

The Bobcats are looking to build off last season's success.

The Bobcats are looking to build off last season’s success.

The Opp Bobcats (3-2) have a lot of fresh faces on the roster for this baseball season, but they still have their sights set on a blue map.


“One of our goals this season is to make it further than we did last season,” Bobcats’ head coach Mike Cassady. “We came up one round short of the championship game last season, and it was the first time in 20 years that our baseball program has made it that far.”


Cassady said that before they can reach the championship game they have other goals that they need to accomplish.


“Our first goals are to win the area and host a first round playoff game,” Cassady said. “Another goal of ours is to win 20 or more games.”


Cassady said the Bobcats have won 20 or more games each of the past five seasons, and finished last season with a record of 25-10.


The Bobcats will be looking to replace 10 seniors who graduated in 2014.


“Our lineup has been changing pretty much every game,” Cassady said. “We have six goes returning from last year’s team, and two of those were starters. Right now, we are just trying to figure out who is going to where in the lineup.”


The Bobcats are using these early games to help find which players are going to give them the best chance to win.


“When we played Brantley we carried 20 players over there, and we played 17 of those,” Cassady said. “And against Andalusia we had 17 players and played 15 of them. The lineup will stabilize as the season progresses, but right now we are just trying to see who is going to perform well for us, and where in the lineup is best for them to succeed.”


On the mound, Cassady said he has three guys that his is confident will give them a chance to win every time they step out there.


“We have three guys, who when they are on the mound, they always give us a chance to win,” Cassady said. “Britt Buckelew, Walker Messer and Tanner Duffell have done a terrific job on the mound so far this season, and I expect them to continue to give us chances all season.”


Offensively, the Bobcats will be looking for returning starters Eli Johnson and Messer to provide a spark.


Johnson is the Bobcats biggest offensive weapon, and last season led the Bobcats with batting average of more than .400, Cassady said.


Last season, Messer was an excellent hitter with a batting average of more than .300.

“Johnson is our biggest offense weapon,” Cassady said. “But he also does a great job on defense as well. He plays several positions, pretty much wherever we need him, that’s where he plays.”


On defense, the Bobcats will be anchored by third baseman Gunter Wise.


“Gunter is a transfer from Straughn,” Cassady said. “Through five games, I don’t think he is made a single error, and he has a ton of putouts already. He has a very strong arm. He can make deep plays, and still have the arm strength to get the ball across the infield. He also has great hands and a great glove.”


Cassady said he expects the Bobcats’ area to be very competitive this season.


“We are in an area with T.R. Miller and Hillcrest-Evergreen,” Cassady said. “In the past five seasons, we have never lost to Miller, but it is always a close games. Miller returned a lot of players from last year, and they are going to be stacked. We expect a war with them everytime we play. I don’t know much about Hillcrest, but I know that they beat Straughn and Andalusia last season, so will probably be pretty good.”