Generals return core on diamondPublished 11:30am Friday, February 14, 2014
2013 was a snake-bitten year in the dugout for the Horseshoe Bend Generals.
Numerous mistakes punctuated an up and down season, but the Generals were able to turn it around enough to get into the playoffs.
This season, HBS baseball coach Jason Johnson thinks the team has ironed out the kinks of 2013 and is ready to put a better product on the diamond.
“We’ve been to the playoffs every year I’ve been here,” Johnson said. “That’s always been our goal: to go further than we have the year before. These kids play the game the right way, and if we keep doing that I think we’ll be OK. We should be pretty good.”
While last season’s record wouldn’t warrant such optimism, the Generals’ defeat of Vincent in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs last season, as well as the return of the majority of the team, has Johnson high on expectations.
“There’s no doubt that win gave them some confidence for this season,” he said. “We only graduated three starters, and we’ll have to replace our two top hitters, but most of our guys are back.”
The defensive play, which was a liability for the team for much of last year, also seems to have improved, according to Johnson, who said he expects the return of the starting infield to stabilize the Generals’ defense.
He added that the Generals intend to dictate outcomes from the mound.
“There’s no question that pitching is going to be the strength of our team,” Johnson said. “Our starting rotation is pretty good with Red (Lewis), Brady (Fuller) and Major (Abernathy). We seem to have gotten better and more consistent defensively from what I’ve seen during the times we’ve been able to get out and practice. We’re farther ahead than what I thought we’d be. We should be better offensively, too.”
Johnson said that the pieces are in place, and with another year of experience under the team’s belt, all that’s left is to take care of business.
“We’re going to have to pitch and play defense,” he said. “If we put things together, we should be fine.”