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February 7, 2007

Lions looking to defend ACCC crown

HANCEVILLE — Entering his 18th season as head coach of the baseball team at Wallace State, Randy Putman has his program right where he wants it, and it is evidenced by the attitude toward his team by the other coaches in the Alabama Community College Conference.

“We’ve won the last two and six of the last 10,” Putman said. “And I’ve had a few coaches tell me if their team cannot win the state championship, they don’t care who does as long as it’s not us.”

The Lions are coming off a 2006 season where they made it to the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Col., and came away with a third-place finish.

In 2007, the Lions want to go a little further and win it all.

“Like always, we’re anxious to get the season started and get started playing,” Putman said. “We’ve done about as much as we can do on wet fields, soccer fields and parking lots.

“We’re ready to get out there and defend out state title and see if we can do better than we did last year.”

One of the key components in building a dynasty at the two-year school level is making sure to have a good balance between sophomores and freshmen each year. Putman has that this season with a total of nine players returning this year for their sophomore season.

“We have nine good players coming back from last year’s World Series team, and that can be good in some instances and bad in others,” Putman said. “They do bring back that much experience, but sometimes they have lost their passion when that second season here rolls around.

“They may have already signed with a four-year school or have made other plans once they are done here. I don’t think that is the case with anyone on this team. I think we are all ready to go this year.”

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