“I am ready to play some baseball in some warm weather,” Slaten said. “ It is going to be nice this weekend. I told my wife the other day when I saw the forecast the great thing is everybody gets to play baseball in baseball weather, so we are looking forward to that for sure.”
Childersburg is one of the two sites for the Ron Johnson Classic. B.B. Comer is the other site. Childersburg will take on the ninth ranked team in Class 1A the Fayetteville Wolves at 3 p.m. and the Talladega Tigers at 7 p.m. The championship game will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at B.B. Comer.
“Fayetteville has a good ball club,” Slaten said. “I think they are fairly young just like we are, but they have some good players. They can swing the bat and they are going to come in here tomorrow ready to play. We have to be ready to play and it is a 3 p.m.start. It is an earlier start than we are used to, so we have to come out and get ready because they are a good ball club. I saw Talladega; we played and beat them pretty good the first time we played them. But I saw them win a few games this year, so they are very capable. We’re not good enough to come to the ball park and win just because we are Childersburg and our guys know that.”
The Tigers are 8-3 on the season. Slaten said he really likes his team, but he admits he was frustrated after his team allowed Sylacauga to come back and win in the Talladega County championship game.
“I can’t really complain on how we have been playing,” Slaten said. “The county championship we didn’t do what it took to win the game. We played good enough to win the game, but we didn’t do what it takes to win it. That one hurt. Obviously, playing Sylacauga being your rival, we feel like we should have won the game. You have to tip your hat to them and Coach Gibbs, because they did what it took to win it and we didn’t. I was really frustrated with them after that game and I told them that. We’ve got to learn to finish games. Just because we get a four or five run lead, that don’t mean the ball game is over. Good teams are going to battle back. I was real proud of our pitching; I think we held them to three hits. I think we had 11 hits. I was real proud of that, but at the end of that the day that is not what wins ball games. They won it and we didn’t. I was frustrated after that and our team was frustrated after that.”
Offensively, the Tigers have been putting up numbers this season. Childersburg has scored double-digit runs in six of their 11 games this season. On Monday, his team scored scored 19 runs in their win over Calera. This is the third time this season that they have scored 19 or more runs in a game.
“We came back and did really well against Calera,” Slaten said. “We hit it as good as we have hit in a long time the other night. We swung the bats really well against them. I have a team full of great kids. I love coming to the ball park every day and just hanging out with them, whether it is here at the ball field or them coming by my house. It don’t matter; we are having a good time. We are glad that we are to the point of the season where the weather is getting warmer. Baseball is supposed to be a warm weather sport and I am glad we are getting that. I like our team a lot, we start conference play a week from tomorrow. Preseason is almost over and next week it will be put up or shut up. We are expecting big things from our team.”
Slaten said he is honored to be able to host the Ron Johnson Classis. Childersburg’s skipper believes that throwing strikes and playing solid defense is vital if they are going to advance to the finals and ultimately, win the tournament.
“I want to make sure our pitchers keep throwing strikes and give us a chance to win,” Slaten said. “We don’t ask our guys to go out and get 11 or 12 strikeouts a game. We ask our guys to throw strikes and our defense make plays for us. For the most part we have done that this year. It has been a game or two where we didn’t throw strikes and another game where we didn’t field it real good. We feel like if we throw strikes and our defense makes plays we will have a chance to win.”