Despite early struggles, Bulldogs focus on improving

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Pike County Bulldogs swept the Abbeville Yellow Jackets Monday evening to improve their season record to 3-12.

For the first time this season the bats came alive and led the Bulldogs to wins of 19-3 and 13-4.

“I think we picked up a lot of momentum when we hung with Ariton on Thursday,” said Bulldogs head coach Taylor Barnes. “It was a turning point for us as far as coming together as a team.

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“I was glad to see it carry over into the Abbeville double header. We hit the ball well and played defense pretty well. We did what we had to do to execute.”

The Bulldogs are nine games under .500 and are still in search of their first area win after starting 0-3. First year head coach Barnes and the rest of the Bulldogs understood this was going to be a year of rebuilding, and so far that is exactly what it has been.

“It was great to be able to pick up a win in game one of the season,” Barnes said. “Looking at our schedule, we knew it was going to be a tough road. We had New Brockton, Highland Home, Samson and Wicksburg. We are focused on getting better every day.”

The Bulldogs entered the season with the saying “Grow in value every day.” Even though the Eagles have struggled and it’s tough to come up short on the scoreboard night in and night out, the players have stuck with that philosophy and they know that brighter days are near.

“We are trying to lay a foundation and build a program here,” Barnes said. “It’s hard not to look at the scoreboard after a game, especially after a loss. I think our kids have done a great job at knowing that they have gotten better.”

Like the weather, the bats for the Bulldogs have been cold to start the season. A bad approach has led to struggles for the Bulldogs at the plate.

“We have been ice cold at the plate,” Barnes said. “Last night we put a lot of balls in play, but it has not been one of our strong suits. We have had a bad approach at the plate.”

On the flip side, the one area of their game the Bulldogs have seen success in has been on the mound. Led by a three-man rotation that features Chris Maxwell, Alex Allen and Hunter Kilpatrick the Bulldogs have been able to get some outs.

“I am very happy,” Barnes said. “We have three guys that I would run out against anybody. After that, we have work to do, but we are doing a good job in my opinion.”

The learning process has not just been for the Bulldogs players so far this season; Barnes has also come along since beginning his first head coaching experience with Pike County.

“Just like the kids, all I am trying to do is get better each day,” Barnes said. “We are really big on telling the kids on how to respond to certain situations, but sometimes we need to self-reflect and look at ourselves. I am trying to do that each game.”

The Bulldogs will be back in action on Thursday when they travel to take on Highland Home.