Goshen looks to stay hot in area play

Published 12:12 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012

As the area’s baseball teams move further into region play this season, the Goshen High School Eagles are looking to build upon their recent success and build on their 1-0 region record.

After recording only six wins in 2011, the Eagles are 6-6 midway through their season, with major region matches against Highland Home and Central-Hayneville on the horizon.

The team has been showing steady improvement all season, recording a win against Calhoun and Ariton over the weekend.

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“We’re starting to hit a lot better and have been more solid on defense,” Eagles head coach Robby Kinsaul said. “We’ve been putting time into little things like getting our bunts down and cutting down on walks. I’ve been proud of that because we struggled with some things early on.”

The Eagles have been especially potent at the bat, with several of the Eagles batters recording above .300 batting averages.

One such player is Carlton Dean, who is currently hitting a .628 average and is one of the lead batters for the team, but a high batting average isn’t the only focus of the Eagles lineup.

“One thing I’ve stressed to the guys is their on base percentage more than just batting average,” Kinsaul said. “Carlton is a player that has speed and is very fast and I’ve seen guys learning to use their hands more and attack the ball. Right now we’ve got six batters batting over .300 and two over. 400 so we’ve shown a lot of improvement.”

On the mound, the Eagles have a strong rotation of pitchers to keep the team strong in the region, including Jarrod Maddox, who is back to full play after arm trouble saw him sitting out for the last week.

The Eagles also have Austin Rushing, who threw 15 strike outs against Luverne and 13 against Red Level earlier in the season, Rob Boutwell and Russ Thomas, who both saw pitching time in the games against Ariton.

With two region games in two days coming up this weekend, the Eagles will have a chance to test themselves and continue their success, starting with Highland on Friday.

“I’ve watched them a little and I know they lost some key seniors but in my opinion they always have a good program,” Kinsaul said. “They’ve got good pitching and fielding and make you earn everything you get. I’ve been stressing to the guys how important a 2-0 region record would be. We’ll have to be strong on our pitching and keep runners off base and do the little things right like bunting, which will be key for us.”

The Eagles will play at home Friday night against Highland Home at 4 p.m. and again on home on Saturday against Central-Hayneville at 2 p.m.