Catch Some Baseball While You're Waiting
NCAA rules allow women's softball teams to have a few Fall exhibition games. Not so with baseball. The men have to be content with intrasquad games.
Alabama will have a few of those this weekend, and Crimson Tide fans (perhaps in early for the Bama-Florida football game) have the opportunity to get an early look at Coach Mitch Gaspard's second Bama baseball team.
Alabama will hold two intra-squad scrimmages this weekend: Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Both scrimmages will be free to the public with gates at Sewell-Thomas Stadium opening an hour and a half before the start of the scrimmage for viewing of the preceding practice.
The Alabama baseball team began preparation for the 2011 season with the start of Fall practice Monday.
Alabama embarks on a new season after ending the 2010 campaign a win shy of advancing to the College World Series for the first time since 1999.
Due to graduation and the Major League draft, the Crimson Tide has a whole different look to its roster with 16 new players. Keeping this in mind, the coaching staff is looking to the veterans to take leadership roles on this young squad.
"The first thing we need to do is lean on our returners for leadership right now," Gaspard said. "We also have to have good fall practices from our returners, not only number-wise, but as far as teaching our other players how we do things, how it operates around here."
One of the keys to last year's success was center fielder Taylor Dugas. Dugas returns after an All-America season a year ago in which the junior hit .395 and crossed the plate 70 times while knocking in 37 runs and stealing 19 bases.
The focal point is on the infield, which welcomes competition at four of the five spots.
"There's a lot of focus in a lot of areas, but right now the number one thing is to put an infield together that we're comfortable with when we get out of the fall," Gaspard said.
Brock Bennett, a former walk-on and the only returning infielder for the Tide, played in 54 games, 41 behind the plate, a year ago while hitting .346 in SEC play. Left-handed pitcher Adam Morgan, last year's Friday starter, will join Dugas and Bennett in helping to shape the team's identity for the 2011 season.
"Even though we're young in some spots I think we're pretty mature," Gaspard added. "I think after five or six weeks in the weight room and individual work the guys will have a pretty good understanding of what we're trying to do. We're excited about getting on the field and starting to grow as a team for this year."
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