Bedsole, Dawgs get to work on first day

Published 11:00 pm Monday, January 6, 2014

In baseball, 2013 was not the ‘Year of the Bulldog.’ Under new head Jim Bedsole, the Pike County baseball team is hoping to make 2014 a little more auspicious for the Bulldogs.

Pike County is coming off a forgettable season in which the Bulldogs were unable to register a single win. Despite the team’s struggles last season, Bedsole, who coached at Slocomb last season, said this season’s group of players looks ready to compete. “Last year the team didn’t win a game, “ Bedsole said. “Looking at our schedule this year, we want to finish at least .500. We believe that is an attainable and realistic goal. If we finish in the top two of our area, we’ll make the playoffs. We believe that is another goal we can obtain.”

In order to make the playoffs, Pike County will have to finish above either Montgomery Catholic or Abbeville in area play. “Catholic is always a strong team,” Bedsole said. “Abbeville has improved a lot in recent years. They made the playoffs last year. Every game in our area is going to be tough. I tell the boys that nothing is going to be given to them this year. They’re going to have to earn every win.”

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Bedsole said his coaching style stresses improving the fundamentals of the game. “We’re looking to play a lot of small ball this year,” Bedsole said. “A lot of teams made the move to small ball after the AHSAA passed bat regulations two years ago. We have a lot of speed on this team. We want to put pressure on opposing defenses by putting men on base. We want to force teams to make the extra throw to throw out our base runners. In high school, more often than not, that extra throw winds up in the outfield, and the runner can take another base.”

Bedsole said his main goal this year is to set the foundation for a program that can compete against the best teams in the state. “We’re working on building a program right now,” Bedsole said. “We didn’t win a game last year, and we’re trying to make it so that doesn’t happen again. It all starts right here in the weight room. Even after last year, we still had great interest in the program. More than 40 kids tried out for the team. We’ve got some good players, and I think we’re poised to have a good season.”