So far, in his third season as head coach of the West Limestone Wildcats baseball team, Ryan Griffin has his team motivated and ready to play. They have won their first three games of the season with scores of 13-1, 12-1 and 11-6.
“The positive energy from all the guys, they’re really behind each other and picking each other up,” Griffin said.
Last season, the Wildcats finished with an overall record of 10-4 in the season, which was shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic. Griffin hopes to improve upon that record in a full season of baseball.
But to do that, Griffin admits that some things need to be worked on.
“Keeping their focus on each pitch,” he said. “We have had some mental mistakes that we would like to clean up.”
Griffin believes if they can cut down on those mental mistakes, anything is possible.
“With having six seniors with a lot of experience and some underclassman that have contributed the past few years, we have very high hopes entering the season,” he said. “We were headed in the right direction last year before the shut down and are hoping to pick up where we left off. I think the ceiling is anything these guys set their mind to.”
He said his team has learned a lot from those who played before them, and they remain a very coachable group that’s a lot of fun to be around.
The coronavirus pandemic made it difficult to be around his players and for the players to be around their teammates, so being back on the baseball diamond is something they’re not taking for granted.
“Probably the toughest situation are the extra things we have to do to keep everyone safe, but we try not to complain or be negative about a few easy things that we need to do to keep the season going,” Griffin said. “We know there are much more important things going on right now than playing baseball, so the guys are just happy they have the opportunity to play the game.”
Fortunately for the Wildcats, not only have they been able to play games, they have also been practicing in their new indoor baseball facility on campus. The facility was built in 2020, but it wasn’t until 2021 that the guys were able to use it because of the pandemic.
“It is a top-of-the-line facility, and it has everything we need to practice and improve,” Griffin said. “A lot of folks from the community have stepped up and helped get it built for us, and we owe them a ton of gratitude.”
The rain and snow in Alabama has also played a large factor in how often it has been used this year. Griffin said they’ve used it “a ton.”
“Without this, we would be really behind,” he said. “I’m very thankful to coach at a place with so much support from the administration, parents and the community.”
The Wildcats were set to be back on the field at home 4 p.m. Monday against the Lexington Golden Bears.