Feb. 8—THOMASVILLE — Though they will not meet in the regular season, Thomas County Central and Thomasville High School met on the diamond for a preseason scrimmage on Tuesday night. Thomas County Central looked good as they took a 4-0 victory, while Thomasville looked a little shaky.
"My coaching staff has done a great job having our kids prepared," said Central head baseball coach Ryan Strickland. "I mean, that was evident last night in terms of ready to play defense, knowing where to be, the positions to be in, plays after the ball is pitched and just expecting plays to happen. Pitchers look phenomenal, the pitching coach has done a great job."
The pitching was solid for Central and the hitting was definitely there, but what was most impressive was the base running. Central base runners were extremely aggressive stealing eleven bases on twelve attempts. Strickland said that while the coaches teach them how, it's the players that make the choice.
"All that kind of stuff, we coach our players on how to do it, so that was all on them. They were looking for those opportunities and reading what was being given to them and they were successful 11 out of 12 times. That was huge," Strickland said.
For Strickland, as Central gets ready to start their 2024 campaign on the road against Colquitt County, his message remains focused on the fundamentals. The basics that make good teams great.
"It's doing what you do and just trying to get a little bit better at it everyday," Strickland said. "Baseball is simple and doing simple things a little bit a lot is how you become good and how you become great."
For Thomasville, it was a difficult scrimmage. The Bulldogs had multiple fielding errors that led to base runners for Central, pitchers struggled to find the strike zone with multiple walks and hit batters. Not scoring doesn't help matters either.
However, it's important to note that this was a pre-season scrimmage. It's not supposed to be perfect or even good. These games are meant to show coaches and players the kinks they need to iron out before the season starts.
This is still a very good Thomasville team that's won six straight region titles, won 25 games and lost only a single region game last year. One rough game in pre-season should never discourage a team or their fans. It's an opportunity to learn and grow before the games that matter.
Thomasville will open their season on the road against Valdosta on February 12.