By Emmanuel Morgan
HUNTERSVILLE – SouthLake Christian Academy’s baseball team opened the 2014 season impressively, but hit a slight bump last week.
The Eagles started 5-0 behind a potent offense, but have lost three of four since then.
Michael Causey, a former college player in his second season as SouthLake’s coach, remains upbeat and excited about the journey ahead for his team. With expectations high at SouthLake, Causey said he tries to keep everything in perspective.
“I just got the guys thinking that every game is the state championship, so we’re just taking it one game at a time,” he said. “Every team we play against, we believe that it will be the toughest game on our schedule.”
SouthLake has a .312 team batting average led by Riley Zayicek (hitting .407 with nine RBIs and five extra-base hits), David Stowers (.370, 10 runs) and Devin Bagwell, hitting .367 with 15 RBIs and six extra-base hits.
The success of this season’s team did not occur overnight. Throughout the fall and winter, SouthLake players were either lifting weights or on the field working to improve.
“Coach Causey has done a great job with us,” senior pitcher Bradley Hallman said. “He’s been working all through the fall to make us better baseball players.” Hallman plans to play at Gardner-Webb University next season. He and three other Eagles seniors aspire to end their high school careers as state champions.
Hallman is SouthLake’s top pitcher. He is 2-0 with a 0.74 earned run average and 25 strikeouts in 19 innings. Andrew Naspinski, a junior, has a 2-1 record.
Injuries have hampered SouthLake in the early going. Sore shoulders, tender arms, and other nagging injuries have prevented the Eagles from reaching their full potential. Once the starting lineup is healthy, better results are expected.
Preparation is key, and Causey intends to ensure that his team will be well equipped.
“We need to get better every day and make sure they do their job on and off the field,” Causey said. “This team is very close, and if we remain a family, we will be tough to beat.”