Tigers break single season steals record
You wouldn't generally consider an 11-win season one for the record books, but Bobby Hughes' Greenville Tigers definitely made some history on the diamond this year shattering the state record for stolen bases which stood at 186 before the season started.
“We stole 201 bases this year,” said Hughes, who formerly coached at Montgomery Catholic for six years. “I think we only got thrown out seven times all year. We did a good job and I was really proud of the kids, but we made some errors in some other areas, but that comes with (lack of) experience.”
The record the Tigers broke was set by Sumiton Christian in 2000 during a 35-game season, four more than Greenville played this year. In fact, during the game with Andalusia when the record was broken, the Tigers stole 16 bases.
Breaking the record for stolen bases wasn't on anyone's mind when the season started, but after about 15 games, Hughes started thinking about what it might mean to his team's morale, and to future seasons, if they came away from this year with something more tangible than an 11-20 record.
“(The record) definitely sends us into next year with something we can build on,” he said. “But the first thing we had to do was learn discipline. We had no discipline at all when the season started. They showed up whenever they wanted to and ran their own practices so we had to deal with that. People didn't want to do what they were supposed to do and I had to weed out a lot of people.”
Hughes said early on, much of his time was spent trying to learn what positions to put his players at.
“Basically it took me half a year to figure out these kids and where they could play,” he said. “This year was really a year to set standards and get them used to me and how I coach. I'm real aggressive and tough on them, but we only graduate one senior this year so we've got a good year ahead of us.”
The Tigers' main threat on the base pads was Lynn Lewis, who stole 66 bases putting him tied for second all time with Hartselle's Eric Stinson, who stole 66 bases during the 1992 season. Maplesville's Kevin Harrison holds the all-time record of 75 stolen bases, which he swiped during the 1997 season.
“It feels good for us to have something to brag about because we had such a down season,” Lewis said. “It lets us know we can run bases with the best and if we stop the errors we can play with the best. It definitely gives us a positive attitude for next season.”