Cavs see progress despite record

Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Lakeland High School’s baseball team finished its season with a 5-15 record this spring, but feel they are closer to a winning season than their record shows.

Lakeland’s baseball team didn’t have a strong season if you’re judging by the win-loss column. However, the coaches, staff and players don’t pay attention to it, because they feel they are close to breaking through. Lakeland is a 3A school and also the smallest school in the Southeastern District, so when the Cavs play teams in the district, they are always facing bigger schools.

The Cavs didn’t win their first game until they got to conference play this season. In the conference, they advanced all the way to the Conference 27 semifinals before their season ended. Coach David Devers admits that the loss wasn’t the way the Cavs wanted to end their season, but he was satisfied with the way the team improved.

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“When you look at our numbers from the season, we improved as a program,” Devers said. “Offensively, we are scoring more runs; defensively, we are cutting down on the errors we are making.”

Devers feels the program is growing in the right direction, even though people haven’t seen it in the win-loss column. One thing the Cavs did regardless of a game’s outcome was fight. Each player made it their mission to go out each game and play as hard as he could. The Cavs improved their team’s batting average this season by 100 points while also scoring 30 more runs than they did last season.

“We are getting there,” Devers said. “Next year should be a really good year for us. We have some guys returning who have been through the program who will benefit. I think we are real close to turning this thing around from a win-loss perspective.”

Lakeland did have four players make all-conference teams this season. Andrew Kelley made the first team at first base, and Damonta Hawkins made the first team from the outfield. Cody Anderson and John Cooke were both all-conference second-team representatives. Devers was happy to see his players receive individual recognition; it shows the type of talent the Cavs have.

“Any time your guys get recognized from the coaches you compete against is good,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s why I’m in this, is for the kids. I appreciate it when my kids get recognized.”

“It’s always good to get recognized for personal success,” Anderson said. “In our conference, we had some good wins.”