ECHS baseball ready for winning again

Published 10:01 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
The batting order might not be set yet, but Escambia County High School baseball head coach Keith Nall said his team would be ready for the opening game Feb. 24.
"We are getting better every day, but with the couple weeks we have to practice we can't tell too much," Nall said. "But after that first game we will know where we stand for sure."
One thing is for sure; Big Blue will try to improve on a 3-17 season in 2005.
"We are hoping to win some games early so these kids can taste success and then go from there," Nall said. "We also hope the success from the basketball team can flow into the baseball season since we have three guys on the basketball team on the baseball team."
The normal progression of a baseball season is that the pitchers have an early advantage over the hitters and the Blue Devils are no exception to this rule, Nall said. But Nall said he is proud of where his hitters are at this point.
"The hitters are looking good and I hope we can have a good year," he said.
The Blue Devils only lost one senior in 2005, Chris Graham, and Nall said the experience of his returning starters should help Big Blue in 2006.
"Hopefully we will have success early and we can build on that throughout the year," Nall said.
Darius English led the team in hitting last year and Nall said he is the best pure hitter on the team this year. He said English works hard all the time and is a great player. Another returning starter is Jonathon McNeil and Nall said he swings the bat well and he is one of the better all-around players on the team because he is also a pitcher.
Other hitters Nall said would contribute to the team are Corey Flowers, Alvin Simmons and Brian Johnson.
"I am not sure of the batting order yet," Nall said. "I have been throwing things around in my head, but I don't have one right now and I haven't made up my mind yet."
No matter how the lineup shakes down, Nall said the Blue Devils will not rely on power.
"I don't stress the big home run because at this level I believe these guys need to worry about contact rather than power," he said.
The big guns for Nall on the mound will be McNeil and Kevin Green. He said these two guys will be at the top of the rotation and he will work in Flowers, Charles Dailey and some other guys when they are needed.
"We are playing a lot of games this year and we will need a lot of pitchers," Nall said.
Nall said the 2006 team is special.
"They work hard and they do everything I ask of them," he said.
Nall said he is looking forward to this season and he has a special request for the community of Atmore.
"We hope the community will come out and support us this year," he said.
First-year assistant coach Chris Dabney will assist Nall. The Blue Devils open their season Feb. 24 in the St. Paul's Tournament.

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