COVINGTON — Alcovy’s baseball team is hoping that the mostly half sophomore, freshmen team can take them to next level with the help of the upperclassman.
“I think the senior leadership we have this year is going to be a real calming force,” first-year Alcovy head coach Ryan Denison said. ” Those guys are willing to foster the younger kids up to the varsity level.”
Of the 18 players on the varsity, five are seniors and four are sophomores with two freshmen also on the team.
While the Tigers have a lot of young talent, the problem is going to be getting them developed in time to help get them to post-season play.
That help is going to be necessary with the pitching staff as Alcovy only has two tested pitchers with the rest of the staff helping as needed.
Alcovy’s main pitching is going to come from senior Dalton Reagin with Nathan Purcell getting time on the hill when he’s not behind the plate.
“Pitching is going to be young again this year,” Denison said. “I’m really looking for some of those sophomores to step up and see if they can play at the varsity level. I’m looking for Hunter Phillips, Marc Beddington, Quinton Grizzard and Blake Earnest to step up. We have a ninth grader that’s going to be pretty good, Brock Carter, we’re going to see what he’s made of too.”
While their defense is again going to be a big part of their success, hitting is going to play a major part. The Tigers have never had a steady amount of power hitters but what they have always counted on are players that can put the ball in play. While they have been working on their power, contact hitting is again going to take precedence.
“We’re going to have a lot of good contact hitters. We’ve been in the weight room since August so we’re going to see if that will pay off and hopefully we’ll have a little bit more power this year,” Denison said. “We have to hit it and let home runs happen. But getting them into the weight room will be that added bonus. If we do make good solid contact then it’s more likely to go out. But it’s kind of hard to hit home runs with those bbcor bats anyway.”
One thing that is not going to change is the way the Tigers attack the basepath as both Denison and former head coach Casey Bates believed the same way.
“(Bates) and I really didn’t have a lot of differences in philosophy. A solid defense and good pitching wins games and be aggressive on the base path. We always agreed that you have to be aggressive on the bases to put the pressure on the defense,” Denison added.
If the Tigers can get their young players to mature and step up their game, Denison is hoping to dethrone Luella. The Lions have won the region for the past three years and were runnerups three year straight before that.
“I really think we have a pretty good shot at winning region this year and having enough competition to beat Luella,” he said. “We want to get back to that second and third round round of the playoffs and see what happens. Once you get there you never know what’s going to happen.”