Tigers travel to Mobile to take on top-ranked UMS

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 17, 2015

Cutter Gafford will be a pitcher that the Tigers will be leaning on this weekend.

Cutter Gafford will be a pitcher that the Tigers will be leaning on this weekend.

Straughn knows they have their work cut out for them when they travel to Mobile today to take on the top-ranked UMS-Wright Bulldogs in the first round of the AHSAA Class 4A state playoffs, said coach Jim Bedsole.


“We are going to have to do everything just a little bit better then we have been,” Bedsole said of how the Tigers can get passed the Bulldogs. “They are a good team there is no doubt about that. They don’t have many of the starting nine who aren’t hitting above .500.”


Bedsole said that the Tigers will try something a little different on the mound when facing the Bulldogs.


“They have seen some big schools with some hard throwing pitchers this season,” Bedsole said. “So we are going to try to pitch them backwards, so-to-speak. We will go with someone that doesn’t throw as hard, and we won’t be starting them out with fastballs, which is what they are going to be looking for.”


The Tigers have lived on defense and pitching all season, and Bedsole said he doesn’t expect his starting pitcher to strikeout a ton of batters.


“Whoever we go with on the mound, I don’t expect for them to strikeout everyone,” Bedsole said. “We just have to play behind whoever is on the mound, and make the plays. The biggest thing is we have to limit their scoring opportunities to the ones that they earn, and not give them opportunities off errors and walks.”


With a team with as much talent as UMS, Bedsole said that limiting those opportunities is how the Tigers can keep the game in reach.


“They are good enough to score runs without our help,” Bedsole said. “If we can limit their runs to just what they earn, then we can be there at the end of the game. Whether we are up on them or just in a chance to get up on them at the end, that is what we want.”


Bedsole said that its up to kids and whether or not they believe they can win.


“We know there aren’t many people out there that are giving us a chance,” Bedsole said. “But I told the kids that it doesn’t matter what anyone outside of the team thinks, because when that first pitch is thrown, the only ones who can change how the game goes are the guys on the field. We just have to believe that we can do it. We are the only ones who control what we do. We had a tough draw, but you have to play the hand that you are dealt. We just have to go out there and play our best and let chips fall where they may.”


Bedsole wants his younger guys to think about the seniors as they start the game.


“It will be a special time for the seniors,” Bedsole said. “This could be there last games, but it could also be a time to create a memory of knocking of the No.1 team in the state.”


The Tigers and Bulldogs are scheduled to begin the first game at 4 p.m. today, and the second game will be shortly after the conclusion of the first. A third game is scheduled for Saturday at noon if necessary.