The Duncan Banner

March 26, 2014

Empire flies out of the gate after spring break

John McKelvey
The Duncan Banner

EMPIRE — Empire came out of spring break experiencing a power surge with three homers and a bunch of hits in its 15-5 win versus Geronimo on Monday.

Stephen Price led the way with two of the three home runs, making the smooth transition back to the baseball diamond after the team got spring break off. He said a big part of it was just perfecting his swing when he wasn’t able to attend practice on Sunday.

“(My sister and I) filmed my swing, and we figured out my hands were a little off and I wasn’t loading enough,” Price said. “It worked that day.”

While Price was practicing on his swing during his free time, Bulldogs coach Stefan Hunt stepped up the amount of swings that the players took in practice. He set up a pitching machine to help them focus on making good contact on consistent strikes.

“A lot of it had to do with their timing,” Hunt said. “Just feeling the proper process of hitting through the ball.”

While Price and Tanner Ford showed their power with home runs, Hunt was happy with how all the Bulldogs felt their bats come alive. He pointed out Dustin Curtis, who has pitched well on the mound but struggled at the plate so far this season. Hunt said Curtis had three strong at bats Monday.

Hunt thinks a crucial element to the team’s success is the attitude. He knows they have the talent as he coached many of the players in football or basketball. They just have to get it in their minds that they can do something, then they can do it.

“These kids right now are just realizing their potential,” Hunt said. “They need to continue to let the game be fun, instead of trying force things to happen.”

Hunt has that as a priority right now with the team preparing for this weekend’s Red Dirt Classic tournament in Central High. Even though the Bulldogs allowed three runs on Monday they were able to move past them and win the game.

“I think they’re just becoming more comfortable at the plate,” Hunt said. “Confidence breeds success. I think they’re becoming confident in everything they do.”

Empire’s offensive power wasn’t enough in a 12-10 loss to Walters Tuesday.