Junior Boys look to beat the heat in District play

Published 2:33 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nick Lewis releases a throw to first baseman Charlie Tisdale as coach Sam Kitchens watches on during practice in Troy, Ala., Monday, July 2, 2012.

Troy’s Dixie Junior Boys are obviously optimistic heading into the District 9 Tournament which opens July 5, but head coach Sam Kitchens knows weather will play a factor in how games will be managed.

Pitching and defense is a solid fountation on which to build any baseball team but with temperature expected to reach the mid to upper 90s, Kitchens will have to keep a close eye on how his players are holding up.

“We’ll stress hydration all week,” Kitchens said. “We’ll stress drinking fluids everyday around the clock and not just at game time.”

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Pitchers will be especially vulnerable to the heat with repeated movements and exerting energy on the mound.

Dixie Boys rules limit pitchers to 95 pitches per game and require 40 hours rest if that limit is reached.

“There is always a fine line in managing pitch count with the heat,” Kitchens said. “You hope that your pitchers can conserve pitches early in the game. If you can get to the 30-40 pitch range and get three to four innings out of guy, you can start thinking about when to make a move.”

Troy hopes to use its deep staff to maneuver the tournament bracket as earn a berth to the state tournament.

“We’ve got several guys that we will look to pitch at some point,” said Kitchens.

Troy opens with Ozark on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Troy Sportsplex.

Enterprise and Dothan will play the tournament opener at 4 p.m.