So when the Raiders (8-6 overall, 2-1 in region play) jumped into 6AAAAAA play last week, Alpharetta head coach Steve Bohn felt his team was more than prepared to take on the best of the best in region play.
“We always schedule as hard as possible just to have the kids as ready as possible for region ball which we know will be tough,” said the Alpharetta coach, who saw his team beat the likes of Milton (3-0), Harrison (8-2), Calhoun (14-7), Etowah (6-3) and North Cobb (6-5) early in the season — all state playoff teams from a year ago.
“We saw some really good pitchers along the way and our overall record doesn’t mean much to me, but we got experience against some of the best arms in the state and that is huge.”
The experience gained, said Bohn, will be beneficial in a region that is shaping up to be one of the tougher divisions in the state with the likes of Johns Creek and Lambert at the top and a host of other strong programs trying to navigate their way to the state playoffs — a place Bohn’s team is trying to reach for a fourth straight spring.
“There is no doubt that is our goal and if we play our brand of baseball in region play I think we have a good shot to work our way into that top four,” said the Alpharetta skipper.
“We have a lot back from last year’s team, and while we know we aren’t going to outslug anybody, we think we can hang with anyone if we’re doing the little things right.”
He described Alpharetta’s brand of ball as of combination of strike-thrower pitchers, solid defense and a little small-ball to generate some offense.
Pitchers Bryce Conley (3-1 record, 2.94 ERA and 24 strikeouts) and Josh Dobbs (1-0, one save, 0.68 ERA) have starred in the early going on the mound with David Leith, Mitchell Zahariades and Tyler Hamel providing depth on the mound.
At the plate, the Raiders have remained efficient with a balanced offensive attack. Dobbs (.316 average, 3 stolen bases and 8 RBI) and center fielder Evan Troutt (.300 average) have been the most consistent threats while Hamel and Tyler Keely have added pop to the middle of the Raiders’ order.
“It’s been a team-wide effort at the plate,” said Bohn of his offense. “Get guys on, move them over and get them in.
“I’d like to see us drive the ball a little more, but that small ball approach is what we’ll have to be good at in region play.”
Alpharetta will host Chattahoochee tonight before traveling to region-favorite Johns Creek on Saturday.