March 13, 2014

The good new days

Raiders’ early season on an upward swing

Game days and practices are a lot more fun for the Southeast Whitfield High School baseball team right now. Playing pepper along the foul lines is brighter whether there’s sun or clouds visible in the sky. No one is running through center field picking daisies, but it might seem that way.

It’s funny how winning seems to make everything so much better.

“It is a lot funner ride on the way home when you win,” said Raiders senior Blake Foster, a shortstop and relief pitcher.

Last season, the Raiders managed just nine wins as one of the team’s best players suffered a serious knee injury long before the first batting practice pitch was thrown. Through seven games this season, the Raiders (6-1) are already two-thirds of the way to hitting last year’s win total, and they want many more.

Unless opponents figure out how to cool the hot bats the Raiders are swinging throughout their lineup, those wins should keep coming.

“I told our guys at the beginning of the year that our expectations for the start of the season going into the sub-region schedule were very high,” Southeast coach Brad Lofton said. “You just have to put your mind to it, and it has carried over. We have kind of put it all together. Defensively, we are still making mistakes, but I have been real pleased with the last few games, especially offensively.”

The Raiders are averaging 12.1 runs per game with close to one-third of their 85 runs this season coming from a 29-5 win over Gordon Central last Saturday. Going into today’s home game against Murray County — the Raiders play at Trion on Saturday before starting their Sub-region 7B-4A schedule Tuesday versus Dalton — Southeast is riding the team’s first five-game winning streak since Lofton took over the program in 2009.

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