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BI region play starts March 14
jc bi baseball
Bradwell catcher Josh Magaw prepares to receive the pitch in a loss to Glynn Academy earlier this season. - photo by Photo by Jimmy Courier
According to Rhett Hellgren, the high school baseball season begins this afternoon. The first-year Bradwell Institute baseball coach told his team that the season starts at 5 p.m. when Camden County comes to Hinesville for a Region 3-AAAAA opening game.
“I’m excited and I think the kids are excited,” Hellgren said. “I truly think we are going to be ready.”
The Tigers better be prepared because Camden County has won four of their last five and the Wildcats swept the Tigers last season, enroute to a 13-3 region season.
Nevertheless, Hellgren beleives if his team can put the ball in play, then they have a chance.
In Monday’s 8-5 loss to Glynn Academy, the Tigers struck out 11 times and popped up four times.
“We have got to put the ball in play. It is imperative to put the ball in play,” Hellgren said. “If we put the ball in play, then we are going to win games.”
The Tigers’ defense has been strong in the team’s first seven games and Hellgren beleives the pitching is improving.
One thing that killed the Tigers in the first part of the seasonw was falling behind early.
Monday’s loss to Glynn was an example as Bradwell trailed 5-0 after two innings.
“We have been fighting from behind all seson and it’s killing us,” Hellgren said. “If we can be in a game for the first two innings, then I think we’re going to win. I really do.”
The Tigers’ roster includes mostly underclassmen and Hellgren attributes his team’s early deficits to mental weakness.
“They’re just not mentally prepared,” he said. “Baseball is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. We have the physical ability. We just don’t have the mental ability yet, but it’s going to come.”
When that happens, teams better watch out.
“I keep telling the kids to have faith because when we get there, they are going to be shocked and so happy because we are going to win some ball games,” Hellgren said. “We have to be mentally prepared.”
One thing Hellgren has done to better prepare his team mentally is not to announce the starting pitcher until 15 minutes before game-time. He said the pitchers were thinking too much and he doesn’t want them worrying.
In Monday’s loss Dustin Belletty started the game and had a good performance.
“I was very pleased with his work and dedication to the team,” Hellgren said. “He has really matured this year. I am very pleased with him.”
At the plate, Josh Magaw came up big, going 2-for-2 with two walks and a double. Jeff Polk also had a nice night, going 2-for-4 with a double.
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