Blue Devils hopeful that wins are coming

Published 5:50 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Struggling would be an understatement when looking at the Escambia County Blue Devils baseball team.

The Blue Devils (0-15) have failed to win a game all season, and continue to have trouble putting runs on the scoreboard with a young roster.

Despite the issues, first-year head coach Andy Lambert is pushing his team to stay positive in order to find more success.

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Inexperience all over the field has played the largest role in the team’s ability to earn a win, Lambert said.

“A lot of our issues are game experience,” he said. “I asked our players last week how many of them had more than 15 varsity at bats, and none of them have. For these guys, it’s really a bunch of young rookies playing that have had little experience.”

With a majority of the starters playing their first season of varsity baseball, the Blue Devils have faced nothing except strong, experienced opponents.

Being thrown into the varsity environment has brought on things that the team was not prepared to see, Lambert said.

“They are seeing quality pitching and quality opponents like Saraland and UMS-Wright, which they have not seen before,” he said.
Even with the tough times, the Blue Devils are making efforts at practice to improve.

The focus has been on getting hits and putting runs on the scoreboard to be more competitive, Lambert said.

“In the last couple of weeks, we have worked on our approach at the plate,” he said. “We are focusing on being tough outs and being better two-strike hitters. Last week, I saw some improvements in that area against UMS-Wright. I hope down the road this work will pay off for us.”

Hitting being the main concern, Lambert has seen improvements by his team when they are in the field.

The youthful aspect of the team has not stopped progress from being made by pitchers, infielders and outfielders, Lambert said.

“Defensively, we are stronger than we were at the start of the season,” he said. “Our entire pitching staff is young sophomores and juniors.

We get  hit around sometimes, but we are still getting better. Our infield and outfield has made some great strides. We don’t make a lot of errors, so we have been making some good plays.”

Keeping the team in check has been another focus that Lambert has taken on.

Facing an 0-15 record has been known to bring teams down, but Lambert said telling his team to remain upbeat has worked to keep games from getting out of hand.

At first, we did have moments where we were getting down, but we talked about that,” he said. “We told them not to look at the scoreboard because it’s going to hurt you. They are working to stay focused and play harder, so I expect more progression.”

As the latter part of the season takes shape, the Blue Devils are looking to notch their first victory.

One win is not the goal of the team, but finding a way to win several games is the priority, Lambert said.

“I’m hoping we get a handful of wins,” he said. “We just need our pitchers and batting to come around. If our bats do ever get going then we will be able to score some runs and finish the season strong.”