Patriots prepare to work during time-off

Published 9:39 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Even with a strong start and a high state ranking thanks to its overpowering pitching and offense, the Pike Liberal Arts baseball team has is not quite where head coach Butch Austin would like them to be.

The Patriots are coming off a 7-5 win over Morgan Academy on Tuesday night and now, looking to make those improvements.

With the victory, the Patriots improved to 14-2, and currently riding a six-game winning streak.

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Many of those victories have come against some of the AISA’s best.

PLAS, who is ranked No. 5 in the latest AISA polls, has already beaten Macon-East, Coosa Valley, Autauga Academy and Edgewood, all of whom are ranked in the AISA Top-10.

The Patriots are actually undefeated in Alabama, as its only two losses so far came to Georgia teams during the “Border War” tournament, held at the beginning of the month.

A big part of the team’s success has come to its lineup’s productivity, from top to bottom.

Just this past weekend during the Jonah McWaters Tournament, the Patriots hit eight home runs in three games, two of which came from lead-off man Ross Hixon and another two coming from Blake Floyd, who bats in the eighth spot.

Now, after almost two-straight weeks of traveling and playing, the team gets a bit of a breather – but that doesn’t necessarily mean the players won’t be on the field.

“We have the rest of the week off, but we are going to get back to work (Wednesday),” coach Austin said.

“We are not as strong defensively as we have been in the past and there are some other areas we need to improve upon as well,” he added.

The coach continued by saying each position, in both the in field and outfield needed improvement, as well as base running.

There is also another issue at hand for the Patriots.

“We are a little tired right now,” Austin said.

“Our legs are soft right now – I’m happy that we get some time to ourselves, on our own time and on our own field.”

“I think we will be alright. Mentally, we are in a good place,” the coach added.