Turning point?

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 15, 2002

CHHS baseball hopes to break losing streak against traditionally powerful Mustangs


Sports Editor

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It seems whenever Stanhope-Elmore and Charles Henderson High School get together, in any sport, there’s just a bit more edge to everything.

And despite CHHS’s woeful regular season slide as of late, two wins on Saturday over one of the state’s top 5A baseball programs would go a long way toward turning things around for Steve Garrett and the Trojans.

Charles Henderson has dropped seven straight and is now 3-7 on the year.

The Trojans host the Mustangs for a doubleheader on Saturday at Hogan’s Hole.

JV action starts things off at 11 a.m.

"They’re going to be good and they’re always tough," said Garrett about Stanhope. "Our guys realize that this is the type of team you have to beat if you want to win a state title."

But a quest for a 5A state championship dropped off the radar a long time ago. Right now, the Trojans are just trying to string a couple of wins together and hope to be in contention by the time the playoffs roll around in April.

"We know there’s four games we have to win," said Garrett, referring to CHHS’s area schedule against Carroll-Ozark and Eufaula. "And there’s still about 20 games we have to play between now and the playoffs. I told my guys I’m not giving up on them. We still have time to turn this thing around and we had a hard week of practice this week."

Garrett is fielding one of his youngest teams ever this season with seven sophomores starting. Those sophomores, he said, have started to put some added pressure on themselves to perform and that’s one of the reasons the Trojans are so lacking when it comes to a complete game effort.

"Baseball is a mental game,"

said Garrett. "I’m not really going to say anything to them, because they’re already putting pressure on themselves. Mentally, they’re defeating themselves."

Too many errors and not enough hits have cost the Trojans during the seven-game slide. But Garrett points out that had his team been able to hit the ball, on one or more occasions, CHHS could very well be on the plus side of the win column.

"There have been games we’ve played that have been extremely close," he said. "And that’s even with all the errors we’ve made. If we’d been able to put a few more hits together we could be sitting here with a winning record."

Historically, the Mustangs have got the best of the Trojans in baseball in the past. But CHHS ended Stanhope-Elmore’s streak of wins with a 12-9 victory at home last season.

Coaches at Charles Henderson have long used the larger 5A school from Millbrook as a

benchmark for success, but Garrett hasn’t discussed the rivalry with his current players.

"Playing and beating Stanhope-Elmore is always important," said Garrett. "These guys know that."

They also know the "legends", Garrett added, humorously.

"They know a few years ago a couple of our players got up the morning of our game with Stanhope and went turkey hunting," he said. "As it was, come game time, they played like some players that got up and went turkey hunting. The whole varsity ran for that one."