Feb. 5, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama baseball team is in its third week of spring practice, as it prepares for the season opener on Friday, Feb. 15 against VMI at 6 p.m., at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide has had nine days on the field so far, which included five intrasquads. Bama will have a full week of practice this week, which includes regular practice days Tuesday-Thursday, followed by intrasquads all three days this weekend.
“Right now, after our evaluations, it’s become evident that the pitching is much improved,” fourth-year head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “The group of young pitchers from last year has taken steps forward. They are throwing a lot more strikes, in the bottom of the zone, and commanding both the fast ball and secondary pitches. This has been going on throughout the staff, not just a handful of guys, so that is very encouraging.”
All spring practices are open to the public and admission is free to all fans attending the weekend intrasquads. Friday’s scrimmage is slated to begin around 6 p.m., the Saturday game, which is part of the 30th Annual Grand Slammers Fan Day, should begin around 2:45 p.m., and Sunday’s first pitch should be around 2:15 p.m.
Weekly Scrimmage Schedule
Date First Pitch Location
Friday, Feb. 8 6:15 p.m. Sewell-Thomas Stadium
Saturday, Feb. 9 2:45 p.m. Sewell-Thomas Stadium
Sunday, Feb. 10 2:15 p.m. Sewell-Thomas Stadium
“What we’ve seen as a staff is improvement from week to week in all areas of the game,” Gaspard said. “We’re real pleased with our work ethic and the older guys have done a good job of showing the young guys the way. We have a talented group of freshmen that has meshed really well with the experienced guys. Two weeks in we’re encouraged where things are at and we’re continuing to take steps in the right direction to become a better baseball team.”
The Alabama baseball team will hold its annual Fan Day on Saturday, Feb. 9. The event will consist of a kid’s clinic, the annual Grand Slammers preseason barbecue and a team intrasquad. The kid’s clinic will be held at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility, the Grand Slammer barbeque will be at The Zone-North at Bryant-Denny Stadium and the team scrimmage will be held at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
“The Grand Slammers BBQ is always a fun day for us and our fans,” Gaspard said. “The Grand Slammers and Ron Hughston do a great job putting on the event. We have a kid’s clinic in the morning, which is open to the public and is a great opportunity for the kids to have a hands on approach with our players and learn a little baseball in the process. We have a really good BBQ, we’ll give an outlook on the season from our perspective, the players will sign autographs, giving the fans a to chance meet the players and then we finish up with our scrimmage. This is really good for our players, particularly our young guys, to feel the atmosphere of the day. It lets them know they are at the University of Alabama and lets them know that they have to keep things in focus. It’s a fun day and a day we always look forward to.”
The day begins with a free kid’s clinic at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility from 9-10:30 a.m. The clinic is open to children 12 years old and younger. The clinic will include hitting, pitching, fielding and base running instruction from the Crimson Tide coaching staff and players.
The 30th Annual Grand Slammers preseason barbecue will be held at The Zone at Bryant-Denny Stadium from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children (12 and under). Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door. The 2013 Crimson Tide players will be available to sign autographs and coach Gaspard will give a scouting report on the upcoming season.
“Now it’s about preparing for opening day and opening weekend, getting this team comfortable with playing in that setting and understanding the grind of the season,” Gaspard said. “We want them to have the mindset that every day you come out to the field you have to be strong mentally and have a good positive image of what you want to do to be successful.”
The 2013 season is scheduled to begin on Friday, Feb. 15, when the Tide hosts the VMI Keydets in the first game of a three-game series. First pitch for the series is slated for 6:05 p.m., from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
“We need to fine tune things in all areas of the game and make sure we’ve covered everything we need to before opening day, including what to wear to pregame meal,” Gaspard said. “We just need to make sure we do the little things and not have any distractions before starting the season. We want to make sure we’re mentally and physically ready to go, and as the season approaches we want to be as prepared for game one as possible.”
To purchase season tickets for the 31-game 2013 home schedule, call the ticket office at 1.800.TIDETIX or log on to RollTide.com.
Follow the Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team on Facebook at Alabama-Baseball and on Twitter at @AlabamaBSB.