Valley baseball aims for area title three-peat

Published 11:36 pm Friday, February 15, 2019

VALLEY — Last season, the Valley Rams baseball team accomplished the team’s goal of repeating as area champions by sweeping Beauregard in a doubleheader on April 12.

This year, the team is looking for a three-peat. Head baseball coach Patrick Shivers said that he hopes to see the Rams become as consistent as Sylacauga, the school that eliminated Valley last season in the playoffs.

“I want to mimic programs like that,” he said. “You’ve got a couple of programs around like Russell County and Opelika that I want our teams to look like.”

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The Rams have lost some talent, led by All-State designated hitter Coby McDonald, who hit over .400 for 2018. This season, the pitching rotation will feature sophomore Will Kennedy in addition to seniors Cody Lumpkin and Andrue Davis. Seventh-grader Jackson Sanders is also expected to get some early varsity experience on the mound this season as well.

Lumpkin and Davis are the only seniors on the roster.

“We’re deeper at the pitcher position that we have in the last few years,” Shivers said. “But we’re younger at almost every position.”

The team’s batting average has hovered over .300 for the last two seasons, according to Shivers. Davis is projected to hit at leadoff while Lumpkin is projected to hit third, and junior Daniel Osbourne will hit at the power position of fourth in the lineup. 

On Feb. 9, Valley hosted an intrasquad scrimmage at Crestview Field off of Highway 29. The Rams locked in and competed for a few hours before quickly cleaning up the ballpark so that they could enjoy the remainder of their Saturday. 

“Practice has been good,” Shivers said. “It has been one of the best first two weeks of practice that I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here at Valley. I’m very impressed by the guys’ work ethic. The team has come out here with the mentality of getting better every single day.”

Valley is in a new area now with Beauregard, Tallassee and Brewbaker Tech. The past two seasons, the Rams were in an area with Beauregard and Booker T. Washington.

“In the last two years, it was about winning the area championship, or we weren’t happy,”  Shivers said. “We did that, but this year I told the guys that it was going to be a fight just to get in the playoffs. If we can three-peat, that’s great, that’s our goal, but a better goal is to just get in the playoffs.”

Valley’s first game is at 11 a.m. EST. at Benjamin Russell. The Rams first home game is on Feb. 22 against Handley at 5 p.m. EST.