Astros hope for solid season

Published 10:53 pm Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The recreation league baseball season is well underway, and all across the league teams are working hard to improve as the season goes along.

One such group is the Astros of the Dixie Minor league, and head coach Chris Huner said he feels good about his team so far.

“This is a good group,” Huner said. “They’ve got a whole lot of potential. They’ve just got to start putting the ball in play. They need to get a little bit better in the field, but mainly I just think we’re taking too many pitches.”

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That potential has been somewhat evident, as the Astros have won one of their first three games.

The two losses, however, came in very close games, something Huner said made him feel better about the season ahead.

With Dixie Minor being the youngest league that features live pitching rather than pitches thrown from a coach or a pitching machine, most teams struggle to make the adjustment to the new pitching style.

According to Huner, the Astros have struggled with that same transition.

“For a lot of these kids, it’s their first time playing against a kid pitching,” Huner said.

“That’s a big adjustment to make since you’re coming from hitting a pitching machine that throws strikes every time to a kid who could hit four or five batters a game.”

Practice makes perfect, however, and Huner said more practice will make the Astros more comfortable with facing opposing pitchers.

“Once they make that adjustment, they’ll be just fine,” Huner said.

Another challenge this season for the Astros is a lineup filled with players who are mostly unfamiliar with one another, a challenge that is also dealt with across Troy recreation.

“This year, everybody is on a new team,” Huner said. “There aren’t any returning players because of the way the league is set up this year.”

However, Huner is familiar with at least two of his players.

Jahzarian and Juhmir Lampley played for Huner when he was assistant coach for his son Brock Huner’s coach pitch team.

“I helped coach them way back in coach pitch, so I know what kind of athletes they are,” Huner said.

The athletic ability of the Lampley brothers lends the Astros lineup a bit of versatility, something Huner said is a huge help.

“They’re fast and they can really play any position,” Huner said.

“They pitch, they catch, they play third base, shortstop and left field, which are the most important positions. Also, they do a good job of putting the ball in play.”

Even though the Lampley brothers have been impressive so far, they are not the only Astros who have had solid seasons so far.

“We’ve got a lot of kids who are doing well,” Huner said.

“Will Reeves has pitched a couple of games for us this season, and he’s done a real good job of throwing strikes.”