Tigers look to bounce back

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 1, 2016

Barrett Bush gears up for a hit.

Barrett Bush gears up for a hit.

It’s been a bit of an up and down season for the Straughn Tigers’ baseball team, but first year head coach Daniel Rodgers has the young squad geared up heading into the final weeks of the season.

“At times we have played very good,” Rodgers said. “Then there are times when we haven’t been so good.”

The Tigers have played fairly well for the majority of all their games, but it all seems that one bad inning dooms them.

“In the games we have lost, they have been the result of one bad inning,” Rodgers said. “Like last week against Andalusia, we had a bad first inning in both games and it cost us. In the tournament this weekend it was just different innings here and there.”

Thursday after returning from Spring Break, Straughn will face Headland for a Class 4A, Area 2 match with heavy playoff implications for both teams.

“We have a big series against Headland when we return from Spring Break,” Rodgers said. “Our biggest thing right now is to stay focused for the entire game. On defense, we have to make routine plays and attack the baseball instead of sitting back and waiting for it to come to us. On offense, we just have to put a stick on the ball. If we can get the ball in play, good things will happen and we will let the chips fall where they may.”

Rodgers said one thing that has kept the Tigers competitive this season has been their pitching staff.

“Our pitchers have done a great job,” Rodgers said. “They have really keep us in ballgames and given us chances to win.”

The leadership of the team has come from different spots over the course of the season, said Rodgers.

“Different guys have stepped up to as leaders at different times,” Rodgers said. “Our two seasons, Barrett Bush and Shane Jones, have a done a great job as leaders.”

One of the biggest surprises for the season has been the way Matt Worley has stepped into his new role as the starting catcher.

“Matt has just done a phenomenal for us behind the plate,” Rodgers said. “It hasn’t been a year ago that he was badly injured after being run over by a car. We started the season with Barrett at catcher, but he turned out to be our best shortstop so we had to find a new catcher. Matt had never played catcher, but he stepped up right then and said ‘Let me try it.’ Every game he has progressively gotten better. I’ve been real proud of him.”