By Gene Stanley/Correspondent
Matt Kennedy is slightly confused over the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s baseball rankings.
In the ASWA poll released yesterday (Mar. 21), his Westbrook Christian team was ranked No. 7 with a 5-8 record.
“I know the records aren’t as important early,” he said. “But I think we’re a long way from being a contender.”
Westbrook certainly was a contender last season, posting a 26-13 record and making it to the Class 2A state quarterfinal round, where the Warriors lost to eventual state champion Mars Hill Bible.
“We’ve played a tough schedule,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think we’ve played a single game against a team that isn’t a playoff contender.”
Indeed, the Rainbow City squad already has faced strong upper-classification competition such as 6A Albertville and Oxford, 5A Etowah and Springville, 4A No. 5 Alexandria, 3A No. 6 Plainview and 3A No. 3 Deshler.
Pitching is carrying Westbrook so far this season, as seniors Mikhail Cazenave and Matthew Reaves and junior Jake Kilgo and senior are “all throwing the ball real well.”
“Neither of them is going to totally dominate a game very often, but they are all solid,” Kennedy said. “We’ve also played good defense so far and I think the hitting will come around as soon as we can gel as a team.”
Hurting the gel effect was last week’s senior trip, which took four starters away from their posts.
The Warriors start five seniors.
Senior shortstop Alex Perkins is one of the seniors who went on the trip.
“(Alex) should start really seeing the ball soon,” Kennedy said. “He’s too good of a batter to not catch fire at some point.”
Senior Jordan McCartney is the starting catcher, with senior first baseman Jonathan Ford occasionally spelling McCartney behind the plate.
Reaves plays third base when not pitching.
“I think that as soon as we find a rhythm as a team, we’ll be okay,” Kennedy said. “It’s just been tough finding that rhythm early. With area play about to start, I am hoping for the best.”
Westbrook’s Area 13 competition includes Gaston, West End and Sand Rock.