Bunting has helped Hornets’ hitting
By BRIAN TYNES
PLANTERSVILLE — Overshadowed by 61 strikeouts from Cassie Daniels was how well Dallas County hit and scored runs in last weekend’s regional tournament in Gulf Shores.
Coach Ed Miller credits bunting drills as the main source of the team’s run production.
“You’ve got to get runners in scoring position because you aren’t going to get two hits in a row often,” Miller said. “There aren’t many walks in these games. You should get a bunt down 75 percent of the time.”
He hopes that production will continue Friday when Dallas County plays Saks at 10:30 a.m. in the state tournament at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park.
Miller had the team bunting again for its entire practice Tuesday in an effort to keep their batting eye sharp.
The two are more related than they may appear.
Bunting requires concentration and good hand-eye coordination to put the bat on the top half of the ball, otherwise it will be a pop-up and an easy out.
Hand-eye coordination is also what allows a hitter to make a timely swing and put the the ball in play.
“If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it,” senior outfielder Rodnesha Vinson said. “You have to hit it in the right spot on a bunt. You have to stay on top of it.”
Another thing the Hornets have working for them is their speed, which has caused errors they can take advantage of.
“When we start doing that small ball, we play better,” Miller said. “We start hitting better, and we run the bases better. Our speed definitely makes them rush the throw, and that just helps us even more.”
In the regional tournament, none of the first six hitters in Dallas County’s lineup had a batting avergage below .300. Two of them were over .400 and one — Ilicia Stewart — batted .600 for the tournament.
Miller said those numbers will be hard to come by again because the caliber of pitching will be better, but he’s seen enough to remain confident.
“Our hitting is better than I thought it was going to be,” Miller said. “With our pitching and defense, we don’t need but just three runs, and we should be able to win.”