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Neal baseball looks to put two good halves together

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
At some point of a season, almost ever team will have to overcome adversity. It is often how well that team handles adversity that usually makes or breaks its season.
A year ago it broke the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles. After it started the season 10-3, W.S. Neal lost its final seven games and eight of its last nine to finish up at 13-11. That final win total was boosted by three forfeits.
The good news for the Blue Eagles is they have most of those players back that built their impressive first half record. The bad news is for the Blue Eagles is they have most of those players back that had the second half slide.
Two of W.S. Neal's infield spots are pretty well settled, while two spots are very much up for grabs.
Sophomore Jared Cooper is expected to be entrenched at first base.
Second base is probably the most unsettled spot on the team. Junior Whitney Qualls, sophomore James Freeman and junior Josh Danley could all emerge as the starter.
Senior Daniel Hodge will get most of the shortstop duties, but Qualls will probably step into that spot when Hodge goes to the mound.
Senior Deric Smith is the incumbent at third base, but is getting a stiff battle from junior challenger Jimmie Jones.
Junior Spencer Williamson spent most of last season behind the plate. Williamson has been shifted to leftfield this year.
Senior Brandon Douglas has moved into centerfield, but sophomore Bobby Freeman will get a lot of time in that spot when Douglas goes to the mound.
Senior Chad McCall is penciled in for rightfield. James Freeman could see some time there as well when McCall pitches.
Junior Justin Cole and senior Cory Freeman will help back up in the outfield. Freeman will most likely help out in centerfield, while Cole could go into one of the outfield corner spots.
Sophomore Justin Smith is making the switch from centerfield to catcher this season.
If they do not crack the lineup as position players, Campbell said James Freeman and Danley could be possible designated hitters.
The pitching rotation should be comprised of Douglas, McCall, Hodge and Qualls.
The Blue Eagles went winless in Class 3A Area 1 last season. This year Straughn joins the field along with carryovers T.R. Miller, Clarke County and the Blue Eagles.
W.S. Neal Blue Eagles
Baseball Schedule
Feb. 22 Northview Away 4 p.m. (JV), 6:30 p.m. (V)
Feb. 24 Monroe County Home 4 p.m.
Feb. 24-26 Flomaton JV Tournament
Feb. 28 Flomaton Home (JV) 5 p.m.
Mar. 1 Jay Away 3:30 p.m. (JV), 6 p.m. (V)
Mar. 4 Northview Home 4
See EAGLES Page 8
p.m. (JV), 6:30 p.m. (V)
Mar. 5 Monroe County Away 11 a.m. (JV DH), 3:30 p.m. (V)
Mar. 11 Straughn Home 4 p.m. (DH)
Mar. 14 Jay Home 4 p.m. (JV), 6:30 p.m. (V)
Mar. 17 Straughn Away 4 p.m. (JV)
Mar. 18 T.R. Miller Home 5 p.m.
Mar. 19 Monroe County JV Tournament
Mar. 21 Donelson Christian at Milton 4 p.m.
Mar. 24 Flomaton Away 4 p.m. (JV), 6:30 p.m. (V)
Mar. 25 UMS-Wright Away 12 noon (DH)
Mar. 29-31 Beach Tournament
Apr. 4 Clarke County Home 4 p.m.
Apr. 5 Milton Away 4 p.m. (JV), 6:30 p.m. (V)
Apr. 7 Flomaton Home 7 p.m.
Apr. 11 Clarke County Away 4 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 15 T.R. Miller Away 4 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 18 Bayside Academy Home 4 p.m.
Apr. 19 Straughn Away 4 p.m.
Apr. 21-23 Escambia County Tournament at Flomaton
Apr. 25 Bayside Academy Away 4:30 p.m.