Little things key for Tiger baseball

The 2013 Demopolis High baseball team will rely heavily on doing the little things right according to head coach Ben Ramer.

“We know a specific formula that we’re going to have to follow to win. We’re going to have to throw strikes and hit spots. When our pitchers do their job and hit their spots and we get that ground ball, we get that routine out, we’ve got to make it. So our defense is going to have to play well and we think that can be one of our strengths,” Ramer said. “We’re going to have to move people up and hit people over. We’re going to have to be selfless and move people up. Like any good team does, we’re going to have to get timely two out hits.”

The formula is apt for a team that has eight seniors but returns only three starters from its 2012 predecessor.

Gone are the likes of Kole Thrasher, Taylor Polk, William Stewart, Louis Stuedeman and Alex and Daniel Sturdivant, a group that took with it a wealth of experience at center field, second base, shortstop, left field and on the mound.

Still, Ramer expressed little concern over how the eight seniors on the 2013 squad would fill those positions. The greater challenge for that group, according to Ramer, will be filling the leadership void left following the departure of the Class of 2012.

“We’re counting on them to be real big for us. We do have eight seniors, but all of them haven’t had a ton of varsity experience to this point. So we’re throwing them into those roles this year and expecting them to come through,” Ramer said. “We’ve talked to, not just them but all our kids, about leadership. With the bunch we had last year, yeah we lost some good players, but we lost a lot of leadership from those guys as well. We’re asking some kids to step up into some roles that they haven’t been in yet.”

Senior Wesley Anderson, who hit a home run against American Christian Monday night, returns as the incumbent starter at third base. Fellow seniors Mason Rogers and Devin Stroud will also return to their staring positions at catcher and first base respectively.

An injury to senior Brock Montgomery forced classmate Tyler Charleston to log considerable practice time in right field. That tandem is expected to share the position.

Senior Walker Davis will handle most of the second base duties, but has also logged reps at shortstop given an injury to junior Tyler Oates.

Oates and Matt Eicher are expected to provide depth at third while Eicher joins senior Will Tucker will help out at second base.

Senior Josh Mangum takes over center field duties while Michael Brooker handles left field.

Wesley Dunn and John Anthony Morrison are expected to see playing time at first base.

“We’ve got 14 guys, going into the season, on the varsity roster. We’re counting on all 14 making a contribution.” Ramer said. “When I say making a contribution, I mean we’re counting on all 14 going in there at times to help us make plays and to help us win.”

A lot of those contributions will likely come on the mound for the Tigers as Demopolis is expected to utilize 12 of its 14 varsity players on the mound at some point this season.

“It’s getting kids to accept their roles. That role may be that I’m a guy that is going to come in and throw two to three innings a week and that’s how I am going to help the team win,” Ramer said. “We may not have pitchers that we can run out there and expect to get a complete game out of. We may not be able to get five innings out of them. But, as long as they understand what we want them to do, if they can give us three quality innings and get through the lineup and get ground balls, as long as all our pitchers can understand that and accept that, then we can put some things together.”

The Tigers are scheduled to play their home opener Friday night with a home double-header that is part of a tournament they are hosting.