March 3, 2010 1:59:00 PM
Brach White has high expectations entering his second season as the baseball coach at Pickens Academy in Carrollton, Ala.
White and the Pirates have set a goal to win the Alabama Independent School Association Class AA state championship.
The Pirates have lofty goals after making it to the second round of the state playoffs and finishing 23-4 last season.
"We''re planning on winning it," White said. "That''s what you''ve got to plan on every year. We think we''ve got a good chance. We''ve still got a bad taste in our mouths from last year when we lost to Autauga in the second round."
White likes his team''s chances because of its experience. The top four hitters -- Michael Potts (.352 last season), Tyler Vails (.319), Casey Jones (.301) and Kirk Lewis (.300) -- are seniors. Vails (6-2 last season) and juniors Chase Davidson (9-0) and Bryant Fikes (4-1) are returning pitchers.
Pickens Academy (2-0) has outscored opponents 19-3 this season. The Pirates have beaten Tuscaloosa Academy 8-3 and Central Academy, of Macon, 11-0.
Vails got the win against Tuscaloosa Academy and Fikes allowed only an infield single against Central Academy.
"I''m excited about a good year," White said. "We looked good starting out against Tuscaloosa, a (AISA) Triple A opponent," White said. "We''ve swung the bats well. The pitchers have thrown well."
n South Lamar: Lane Wright has begun his first season as the coach of the Stallions, who are 1-3.
South Lamar was swept in a doubleheader by Fayette County and lost to Northside before breaking through with its first win against Lamar County 14-4 on Friday.
"That''s about what I expected for right now," Wright said. "We''re young. I only have two seniors, and one of them has never played before. Brad McCool is the only senior I''ve got who''s got experience. He plays short and third and pitches."
But Wright, who has taken over the program after coaching at Sulligent, has high expectations.
"We have potential," Wright said. "Our goals are to get to the fourth round or the last round (of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A state playoffs). We have the potential to do it if they buy into what I''m selling. Right now they haven''t all bought into it. It''s just different when you get a new coach. Sometimes it takes a while for everybody to buy into what you''re trying to do."
Trent Wilson was the winning pitcher against Lamar County, and he''s one of four pitchers Wright is counting on. The others are McCool, Kyle Aldridge and Ryan Jaynes.
How quickly the Stallions show the promise of a playoff team depends on how their young players mature.
"I don''t know the exact count, but I''ve got a seventh-grader on the varsity," Wright said. "I''ve got an eighth-grader on the varsity. I''ve got three or four freshmen. I''ve got five or six sophomores. We''re a young team."
Designated hitter Holden Fields is the seventh-grader, and Wright said, "He does a heck of a job."