PREP BASEBALL: ‘Enjoy every minute of it’: Good Hope’s Russell Wooten ready for senior season

Good Hope’s Russell Wooten. (Courtesy of Russell Wooten)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. — The Good Hope Raiders baseball team are preparing to hit the diamond once again and the only senior on this year’s team, Russell Wooten, is looking forward to building on his experience from last year this spring.

“I felt that last season went well, and I learned a lot. Baseball is an amazing sport. I actually learned more about how to play different positions because I’ve always played third Just like any sport, you learn in baseball that just because you don’t have certain people playing out there doesn’t mean that the team will not be good. As long as you are playing to the best of your ability and fixing the small mental mistakes that may come up, you will constantly get better at what you’re doing and you have to make sure to always have fun out there,” Wooten said. “High school sports are a big part of school for athletes. You never know when you will be doing it for the last time, so enjoy every minute of it.”

Russell had a lot of fun playing with last year’s team and learned a lot from the seniors.

“Playing with this team last year was fun. We would always cut up, but we also knew when to be serious. They were a great group of guys to be around.” Wooten said. “I learned some new pitches from the seniors, but over the years, I’ve learned to be a leader in everything that I do.”

Russell has played for coach Mitch Witcher for three years now and has soaked up as much from him as he can.

“He’s a great coach and a great guy. I’ve learned lots of the basics of baseball from him. Once you get closer to him as a player and you’ve been around him as long as I have, he becomes a friend, and he will laugh and cut up with you all day if you let him,” he laughed.

Russell has learned so much from the upperclassmen before him and that has helped him become a leader to the younger players on the team.

“From the upperclassmen, I have learned to be a good leader and I’ve learned that it’s always good to have someone to look up to,” he said. “I’ve been teaching the younger kids the same thing: how to be a leader and how to fix smaller things during practice. I also try to teach them to keep their heads up, even in bad situations during games or practice.”

Russell has been getting in shape and also did some drills in the summer to get ready for the upcoming season. He kept his goals for this year short and sweet.

“I’ve been working more on my hitting, and I’ve been pitching a little bit as well. I also have been working out and staying in shape when the season finally kicks off. I’ve been working a lot at getting better and better as the days go by,” he said. “I would like to have a winning record this season and I would love to make it to the playoffs.”

A lot of the players will be back from last year and Russell has been seeing the younger players grow more and more each day. He talked about what will make this team special to watch and his role models growing up.

“From last season, most of the ones that were out there last year will be back this year. The younger guys have definitely grown a good bit. They are getting better every chance they get,” he said. “We will be special to watch this year because of how much work we have put in and being the only senior on the team, I’m ready to watch all of these players grow and get better. Growing up and playing baseball, I’ve always watched Preston Bagwell and Matt Hancock. They were always such good ballplayers and I used to always look up to them from a baseball standpoint.”

Russell has soaked up as much as he can during his time on varsity and talked about some of the best advice he’s received.

“I’ve learned to not get mad at the small things, to keep my head up, and forget about the last inning or the last at-bat and focus forward. The best advice I’ve been given is probably to take it one play at a time and don’t worry about plays that happened in the past or that might happen in the future. Worry about what is going on in that moment of time.”

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