By (Cody Estremera)

For members of the Crimson Tide family, whether it be the coaches, players or fans, the first day of spring practice brings excitement because it signifies the season is about to begin.

“We’ve been anticipating this day since we started in early January,” head coach Greg Goff said. “To get the guys out here, flying around, it’s a blessing.”

Goff stressed the team needed to get back to basics for the first couple of weeks. The team worked on taking care of the baseball and working on situations, like rundowns, bunt coverages and first and third defenses.

“Early in the year you have to do the little things,” Goff said. “You have to throw strikes, and play good defense. We are just rusty on those things right now. Those are going to be our top priority moving forward.”

Goff said that the team has a lot of players trying to compete for some jobs, like center field, catcher and other, different spots in the rotation.

Hunter Webb, who was the starting center fielder last year, decided not to return to the team following Christmas break. He left for personal reasons, because he is trying to join the Air Force.

Keith Holcomb made his baseball debut with Goff. Holcomb, who also plays on the football team, played in 37 games last season and batted .279 which was good for third on the team.

“What a great athlete,” Goff said. “He’s such a great asset for our team. We are really excited for him to fit in our system. We like to run and he’s really athletic and can do those things.”

Holcomb missed part of the season during spring football. When he returned on April 19, he hit .313 with two RBI and 11 runs scored.

Alabama started their inter-squad scrimmage on Saturday. Goff said that the first thing they were going to do was to get pitchers back in the flow of the game. The keys the coaching staff is looking for to the pitchers is to get the pitch counts up and get back on the mound.

“I’m just focused on throwing to hitters and getting back out there,” Brock Love said. “It’s going to be fun and I’m ready to go and compete.”

Scrimmages are going to turn up intensity next week. The batters are going to start stealing bases and putting pressure on the pitchers.

The team has gotten closer under the new coaching staff.

“I think it’s [team chemistry] been great,” Love said. “Everyone has meshed together really well. We are all pretty close on and off the field.”

Last year, Love’s season was cut short with an arm injury. He is back and is now competing for a starting spot in the rotation. His big goal for the season is to try and win every pitch.

The team has its ace from last year, Nick Eicholtz, returning. Eicholtz was drafted in the 13th round in the MLB draft, but decided to come back and complete his degree and work with Goff.

Alabama has open practices until its first game against Presbyterian College on February 17.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports