NHS readies for baseball

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Natchez High School head baseball coach Skip Golding oversees the varsity team’s practice Tuesday evening at Chester Willis field. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

 

NATCHEZ — A new manager will take the reigns for the Natchez High School baseball team this spring, and the young Bulldogs are hoping that change will bring success this season.

Skip Golding will take over for a Bulldogs’ team that features just one senior, but Golding said he believes he will be able to bring solid baseball instruction to the young players.

“(I bring) a lot of experience as a player and a coach,” Golding said. “I have a knowledge of the game and can make it fun.”

Golding joined the Natchez High coaching staff in August as an assistant coach for the football team. He later learned that the baseball coaching position was open and decided to apply.

“I just like coaching high school baseball,” he said.

Golding has had coaching experience at several different schools, and his most recent head-coaching gig was at Ocean Springs High School in the early 90s. He went from that job to coaching fast-pitch softball. He said he came out of retirement to coach at Natchez after he got bored with being away from coaching.

The Bulldogs started practice Feb. 1, and Golding said the team is still in the beginning stages of preparation for the season.

“We are working on everything: pitching, fielding and hitting,” he said. “We still have a lot to put in. Finding nine baseball players is our main focus (right now). It’s going good. We are getting better every day, and the kids are working hard.”

Golding said he hopes he will see the Bulldogs get progressively better each day once the season begins Feb. 25.

“We just want to try to keep getting better every day and win our district games one by one and see if we can get lucky and make the postseason,” Golding said.

Junior Jadarrius Williams feeds the pitching machine for his teammate during practice. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

Golding said he came into the first day of practice without any knowledge of what each Bulldog player could do on the diamond, but he said he has learned that the team already has a winning mindset as a whole.

“Their willingness to get better and learn and play baseball is their strength,” he said.

Natchez junior catcher Davion Ward said he thinks the Bulldogs will be hard to deal with when they get runners on base.

“We are real quick on the bases,” Ward said. “We have real smart guys on the base paths.”

Ward said he hopes the Bulldogs’ ability to run will help them get ahead in games.

“We are looking to be real productive and jump out on teams earlier in games,” he said.

Ward said many of the Natchez players have been playing with each other for several years, and the team plays well together.

“Most of us have been playing since little league baseball, and we know each other and have a feel for each other,” Ward said.

Golding said Natchez has a handful of players that he expects to be able to toe the rubber and pitch for the Bulldogs this season.

Aaron Wesley, a junior at Natchez High School, throws the ball during warm-ups Tuesday evening at Chester Willis field. Wesley plays left field for the team. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

“We’ve got four or five kids that we’re working right now, and we have a good idea on our starter,” Golding said. “We just haven’t been able to get outside and throw much.”

Golding said he has not yet determined what players will take the field when the Bulldogs start playing games, but he knows that his decisions will need to come pretty quickly.

“We have to start somebody,” he said. “We have a scrimmage Saturday against Cathedral at 11 a.m. So I’ll probably decide at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday.”

Golding said he expects the players he does end up starting to perform well this season.

“I think we will have nine players on the field that can run, hit and field,” he said. “We will have nine guys that will be good representatives of Natchez High.”

Golding said he hopes to make sure his players enjoy playing for Natchez, and he also wants to give his players the opportunity to advance in their playing careers.

“I hope all of them have the best possible baseball experience in high school,” he said. “Playing in college is not something I can guarantee, but I hope to make them look good for scouts.”