Greenville gears up for baseball, softball
By Kevin Taylor
While high school basketball is about to reach its crescendo, area baseball and softball teams are braving the crisp winter weather to prepare for opening day which is just a couple weeks away.
New Greenville High baseball coach Bobby Hughes has had his team conditioning since January to prepare for the Tigers opener on Feb. 21 with Carver-Montgomery.
“You will practically see a whole new team out there,” said Hughes, who previously was the head baseball coach at Catholic-Montgomery. “They have been working hard, and they are getting better each day. We will be young, but we have a lot of talent.”
Hughes said that he has had to do a lot more teaching than he expected when he took the job at Greenville last July.
“It's tough because they haven't learned the basic fundamentals that they should have at a very young age,” he said. “But the advantage to that is that I don't have to deprogram them from what they've learned before. They are learning how I want them to learn.”
Hughes will have 17 varsity and 14 junior varsity players this season.
The strength of the varsity team seems to be on the mound. Hughes said that he has about nine pitchers to choose from.
“I've got more pitchers than I thought I had,” he said.
Otherwise starting spots are still open although he said that he has a good idea where some will play. He said last week that there are four spots - first and third base and right and left field — that he is still looking to find a starter.
While Hughes is building a new team, second-year coach Donna Sunnycalb has been working with a team that returns all but five from last season.
“Even with that many returning from last year, all of the starting positions are open right now,” she said. “Right now we are working on fundamentals. We'll worry about finding starters when we get closer to starting the season.”
The Lady Tigers open the season in three weeks against Escambia County on Feb. 20.
Sunnycalb also is practicing with half of her team right now until basketball season ends.
“I won't have a majority of my players until basketball season is over.”
Two areas that Sunnycalb deem crucial to find a starter for will be at shortstop and catcher.
“I've got to find kids that will work hard, hustle and do what it takes to earn those spots,” she said.