Blue Devils young, athletic, ready for '14 season - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Blue Devils young, athletic, ready for '14 season

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

The 2013 season did not end how the Columbus High baseball team would have liked, and on Monday, they began work to ensure a better outcome in 2014.

The Blue Devils went through their first official practice of the 2014 season Monday afternoon. Head coach Bobby Howard said the team spent the workout testing arm strength and bat speed, and beginning the process of getting back in "baseball shape."

Much like the 2013 version, the '14 Blue Devils are a young team, with just seven seniors listed on the roster, but that doesn't shake Howard's optimistic view of the group.

"I like our club," Howard said. "I think we're going to be a little more athletic. We're probably going to have to pitch it a little bit more, play defense a little better. That's the one thing that really hurt us in the playoffs last year. We couldn't find a way to catch and throw."

The battery is anchored by probable opening day starters Will Bice on the mound and Nick Poskey behind the plate, two members of a senior class putting more focus on chemistry.

"We get along a little bit better than the team last year," said fellow senior and infielder/pitcher Will Kilgore. "Since there [are] more underclassmen, there aren't too many people picking on each other. We're all trying to pick each other up more than anything."

Kilgore and the seniors have a little bit of a chip on their shoulders. They don't want to see the state championship drought reach two years.

"Our goal is always to win a state championship," Kilgore said. "We just have to push each other to the fullest and just try to get a ring."

One key will be forgetting about the disappointing end to 2013, with a second-round loss to eventual AAAA champs Redan.

"Every year is different," Howard said. "We just think that this club is going to be a little more athletic, and we have more pitching depth."

Columbus opens the season Feb. 18 at Harris County.

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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