By (Cody Estremera)

For members of the Crimson Tide family, the first day of spring practice brings excitement. Alabama’s new head coach, Greg Goff, is not immune to such feelings.

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

Goff stressed that the team needed to get back to the basics for the first couple of weeks. The team worked on taking care of the baseball and practiced 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 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 as a linebacker 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 intersquad 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 coaching staff is looking for the pitchers to improve and get back on the mound.

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

Scrimmages are going to turn up in 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.

Nick Eicholtz, the team’s pitching ace from last year, is 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 Feb. 17.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports