Dallas County’s Justin Chandler (3) makes contact during a game earlier this season against Holtville. -- File Photo
Dallas County’s Justin Chandler (3) makes contact during a game earlier this season against Holtville. -- File Photo

Young Hornets team making strides entering second half

Published 8:28pm Monday, March 25, 2013

While their 2013 season is off to a slow start, the young Dallas County High School Hornets are still seeing some progress going into the halfway point.

Cody Massey, head baseball coach of Dallas County (3-12), said his young team is showing signs of improvement, particularly in the mental aspects of the game.

“We’re a young team experience wise. We ended up graduating eight seniors last year and all eight of them started, so we’re a young team,” Massey said. “We’ve got kind of a long way to go, but throughout the first half of the season we’ve made a lot of improvements and a lot of it is just mental stuff that we just had to get more reps at it — lining up the right cutoff, people being in the right places, pitchers hitting their spots where they’re supposed to on certain counts. That’s stuff we struggled with at the beginning of the year, but we’re starting to make some improvements on it.”

Massey said one of the early challenges for the Hornets is going up against more experienced opponents, but Dallas County has shown progress in adapting to tough competition.

“One of the biggest things right now is we’re starting in between three and four 9th graders on varsity, and they’re making a transition from playing at Martin Middle against 7th and 8th graders to now where they’re coming up and playing 11th and 12th graders,” Massey said. “So one thing is just the size difference — right now people are just a little bit bigger and stronger than us. That’s just something that comes with us being so young, but it’s also something that’s encouraging seeing the kids get bigger and stronger, get faster and learn the speed of play.”

Massey added that the younger players are also adapting to the speed of the game.

“The game’s a lot quicker at every level you move up. Just doing the mental things right and just doing the simple things right is key,” Massey said. “Like we tell the kids, if we make all the routine plays then we’ll be in it at the end of the game with a chance to win it, and that’s something that we’re getting better at game by game — just doing the little things right.”

Massey said the Hornets want to look to get better each day and be competitive when they continue the season after spring break.

“One thing is you want to get better every day, get our work ethic a little better. It can be a little discouraging sometimes when we go against some of these bigger 4A schools where they run five or six seniors out there with two or three juniors, and we come out with younger people, but just keeping our heads up and knowing that this is something that we can build on,” Massey said. “But also we want to come out and compete. We’ve played a fairly tough schedule so far. We’ve played Thorsby, and I think they’re ranked top ten. We’ve had Holtville and Childersburg and they’re both ranked in the top ten in 4A. We play tough competition, but we’re getting better.

“We’ve been able to compete a little bit more and be in it at the end of the game, which that’s probably our biggest goal that we have is that we want to have a chance to win at the end of the game. It’s going to take time, it’s going to take more and more practice, but if we can be in it at the end of the game, that’s something that we can build off of because it builds experience.”

The Hornets will return to the field on April 5 at Tallassee.

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