THOMASVILLE — Thomas County Central's baseball team aced its final tuneup before Monday's start to the regular season. Head coach Ryan Strickland had zero complaints following Wednesday's 6-2 victory over Berrien in the Yellow Jackets' preseason scrimmage.
“We looked good. Nothing to complain about. No glaring holes or things where you're like, we're bad and we have to go back and work on the little things to clean up,” Strickland said. “It was a good night. I was extremely pleased.”
One of the areas of focus this preseason has been developing pitchers beyond senior Jake Green, who's expected to be the anchor of the staff following a junior season when he tallied a microscopic 0.80 ERA. Strickland used a plethora of arms against the Rebels Wednesday night.
“The way we do it, we throw a different guy every inning,” Strickland said. “We rolled out seven pitchers. That's what we do every year. We try to build a lot of depth in our pitching staff. We don't ever go into a game saying we’re going to go out there and roll a guy seven innings. We can't depend on that at the high school level. The biggest thing we preach and what we tell our guys is give us the best three outs you can give us. When you break it down like that, guys thinking all I've got to get are these three outs, and they'll start stringing together multiple innings for you.
“That's how we handle our pitching and what we preach to them.”
Wednesday's game against the Rebels, though it was a scrimmage, provided the Yellow Jackets their first game atmosphere in nearly a year. The coronavirus pandemic ended the 2020 season early. Just returning to the field this week for a game was a win in itself.
“The biggest thing for us was getting back on the field and playing for the first time in nearly a year,” Strickland said. “The energy and intensity, being a team, that's really been our focus. We haven't been a team like that against another team close to a year almost.
“Just going into this game, we wanted to win the energy, the enthusiasm and intensity and they did that tonight.”
Central will open the season on Monday with a home game against Colquitt County.