IT MAY be hot now, but at least it’s baseball weather.
That’s not the case in dreary, often-inclement months of January and February when baseball teams technically get their preseason.
Because of that, Jefferson head coach Tommy Knight puts a lot of emphasis on the summer slate.
“It’s really like our preseason,” Knight said. “We don’t really don’t have a lot of preseason with it being cold and wet a lot of the time.”
This has been a fairly stable summer for the Dragons as they’re only replacing three seniors from last year’s squad that went 14-13 and advanced to the first round of the state playoffs.
The Dragons played in close to 40 games combined between the two teams in preparation for 2013.
“I feel good about what we’re doing,” Knight said. “Some of these younger kids have grown up. The guys who have been out there all summer long have played well.”
Jefferson’s busy summer included a trip to a team camp at Auburn.
“That went well,” Knight said. “It was a lot of fun. We played some good teams over there and had some good instruction.”
The Dragons also hosted a tournament over the weekend to wrap up the summer slate.
Several players managed to step up during the busy month of June.
Knight said that Hanon Price has had a great summer after not getting a lot of at-bats during the 2012 season.
“This summer, he’s just been amazing at the plate,” Knight said.
The coach said that Trent Sorrells — who Knight is expecting “to really, really help us next year” — has also had a great summer, as did Chandler Thompson.
Others who enjoyed solid summers were Alex Gaba, Satchel Turpin and Tyler Cole.
On the mound, Thompson, Ethan Garner and Jacob Page have been impressive as the Dragons search for a third starter in their rotation following the graduation of Matt Bowen.
While Jefferson won’t have much overhaul from last year, the Dragons still have things to consider in the summer.
“We’re looking to solidify some places,” Knight said. “We’ll move some folks around a little bit next year. Summer is a time when we play people in a lot of different places … It’s good a good time to just experiment,” Knight said.
With June now over, things will slow down for the Dragons. But it was a very productive month, Knight said. “June is a long month. We’re really so busy with the weight training and practicing and playing … It’s been a good summer so far,” he said.