ADDISON, Ala. – Addison’s 2020 season is scheduled to open at home Friday against Danville. This is a season full of expectations and questions. Addison is coming off a successful 2019 season, finishing second in the area and going to the state playoffs. The bulldogs only lost two seniors off that club so you would think that the sky is the limit for the Dawgs this time around. Twenty-three-year-old John Everett is entering his first year as head coach at Addison and he is full of energy and enthusiasm to be coaching his alma mater.
“I am really excited about the upcoming season,” Everett said. “Our practices have been kind of hampered by the weather, but everybody has had to deal with that.”
Addison is in a tough region with Sulligent and Winston County. Both teams are returning multiple starters and it should be one of the better baseball regions in the state.
“Both those teams are good, solid teams,” Everett said. “They have excellent coaches who have done a tremendous job at their respective schools.”
Everett believes his team will benefit from something is a rarity in small school baseball, depth in the pitching department. The staff starts with probable opening day starter senior Luke Waldrep, an imposing 6’3″ 220lbs right hander. Seniors Colton Tyree (lefty), Jake Wilson (lefty) and junior Nelson Martin round out the rotation.
“Luke has a lot of experience and good control,” Everett said. “I feel comfortable with any one of those guys on the mound.”
Addison’s offense has a chance to be good too but there is a philosophical change at the top.
“I want quality at bats, not concerned about your average. I want the guys to get the runner over and hit for situations. We need to be able to get the runner from first to third with less than one out. I’ve told the guys to put the ball in play and force the defense to make a play. A lot can happen if you just put the ball in play,” Everett said. “Make the defense think. I know it sounds simple but at our level if you make the defense handle the ball good things can happen for you. I want to be aggressive on the base paths, that doesn’t necessarily mean to steal. Our players have to know themselves. Players have to know their abilities and limitations on the base paths. They have to know the situation and to keep their head in the game at all times.”
Everett also plans to take advantage of a versatile group of position players in his first season as well as a great group of seniors in the locker room.
“We have numerous guys that can play multiple positions and play them well. Nelson can literally play any position on the field and be successful and Jessie Brock is another kid that handles the bat well and is a quality defender,” Everett said. “We have quality veteran leadership on this team. When Coach (Greg) Dollar and I are not around, Brett (Smith) and Colton (Tyree) keep everybody working and doing the right thing.”
One of the challenges that Everett has dealt with to this point in his tenure is unique among his fellow head coaches across the state.
“Just my age. When I was a senior here some of these guys were in junior high. Just getting them to know that I am your baseball coach and not your teammate was a little challenging but it’s all working out,” Everett said. “The positive is that I can relate to the guys pretty well.”
Everett is grateful for the help and support he’s received so far this year and he’s excited to put it all to good use in the upcoming season.
“The school and parents have been very supportive of us this year. We basically got a new outdoor batting cage. New nets, and turf for the concrete, new dirt on the infield and new uniforms,” Everett said. “We went with pin stripes and they look really nice.”
Coach doesn’t plan on getting ahead of himself this season and knows he’s taking over a team with big expectations but he’s ready to start chasing some of those goals as well.
“My goal for the upcoming season is cliché, I want to focus on one game at a time and after Danville we will move on to the next one. My season goal is to win area, win county and then do our best when it comes to state,” Everett said. “I know I am taking over a good team and that is a challenge in itself, but if I had to take over a good team with high expectations or take over a bad team, I’ll take the good team.”
Addison should be a fun team to watch this year. They have a lot of good kids and a good young coach so things are setting up for a fun year for the Bulldogs. So, if you aren’t doing anything Friday at 4:30 p.m. come on out to lovely Addison High School to see the Bulldogs kick off the 2020 season against the Danville Hawks.
Roll Addi Roll!
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