Eagles welcome playoffs

Published 3:00 am Thursday, April 20, 2017

Senior nights have come and gone on high school baseball fields across the state of Alabama, which could only mean one thing; the playoffs are upon us.

After not making the postseason last year, the Goshen Eagles are back to take on a J.U. Blacksher team that represented Class A in the finals a season ago.

“I think the guys are excited,” said Eagles head coach Robby Kinsaul. “It’s another opportunity to continue playing. There are a lot of teams that won’t have the opportunity. We feel fortunate to be one of those teams to have the opportunity.”

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The Eagles finished the regular season with a 14-9 overall record and a 2-2  record in the area, good enough for a runner-up finish behind Luverne.

“The area we were in the last two years had some very good baseball teams in Elba, New Brockton and Zion Chapel,” Kinsaul said. “Coming into this area you have Luverne. You’re not going to find better baseball that is going to be played when you play those types of teams. We know what is ahead of us and it’s going to be a tough challenge.”

The Eagles enter the postseason looking to capitalize offensively when they have runners on base. The Eagles began the season a little inconsistent at the plate, but with guys like Brian Redmon, Jackson Kyzar and Cory Peterson, Kinsaul believes his team is starting to turn the page.

“We have been doing a better job at advancing runners,” Kinsaul said. “We definitely need to do a better job of coming up with clutch hits with runners in scoring position. In the first game against Luverne, we left several runners in scoring position. Again on Friday we left eight runners on against Highland Home. A lot of those times it was with less than two outs.”

The pitching staff has been a strength for the Eagles in 2017, but the Eagles have had to adjust to a new rule this season, one that features a pitch count for pitchers.

“This is a new experience for me too,” Kinsaul said. “I think our guys are going to have to focus not so much on pitch count, but we have to keep more focus on keeping the ball down and hitting our spots.”

Senior Landon Wilks has led the Eagles pitching staff in 2017, but just a day removed from the start of the playoffs, coach Kinsaul has yet to come up with a rotation. Along with Wilks, the Eagles have gotten quality innings from Kyzar, Dalton Bunce, Evan Rose, Blake Childs and freshman Bryan Galloway, who could be looked upon to start game one.

“I am still trying to figure out what rotation gives us the best chance to win us a series,” Kinsaul said. “Anytime I put Landon on the mound, I feel like we have a really good chance to win the game. He is one of the better pitchers in this area. We just have to find the right rotation to help us win the series.”

The Eagles and Bulldogs will begin game one at 4 p.m. with game two to follow shortly after. If a game three is necessary, it will be 2 p.m. on Saturday.