by D. Mark Mitchell
This month has been great for our spring sports because of the beautiful weather we have had in Alabama. The temperatures have been warmer than normal, which has allowed the teams to perform without having to worry about the cold nights and windy days that normally plague spring sports.
The OHS tennis teams continue to perform at a high level. The girls team remains undefeated at 8-0 after beating Prattville. The ladies won all six singles matches as well as all three doubles matches. The singles winners were Meagan Wade 8-1, Meg Larson 8-0, Anna Lazenby 8-0, April Wade 8-3, Ashley Robertson 8-0 and Kelcie Carpenter 8-0.
Doubles winners were Meagan Wade/Meg Larson 8-0, Anna Lazenby/April Wade 8-0 and Ashley Robertson/Kelcie Carpenter 8-0.
The OHS boys team improved to 5-2 with their win over Prattville. The boys also won all their matches, although the scores were a bit closer. Singles winners were Michael Bizilia 8-6, Winston Smith T 8-3, David Bizilia 9-7, Andrew Bizilia 9-7, Scott Carpenter 8-2 and Ross Herring 8-5. Doubles winners were M. Bizilia/Winston Smith T 8-2, David Bizilia/Scott Carpenter 8-4 and Andrew Bizilia/ J.T Barron 8-0.
Coach Erik Speakman is hoping that both teams will continue to improve and advance to the state tournament. Section matches will be held in Opelika at the Bill Calhoun Tennis Center in the middle of April. The state matches are in Montgomery at the end of April.
The OHS baseball team (6-12) split two games with Benjamin Russell Tuesday afternoon at Bulldog Park. The Dawgs won game one, 4-2, behind a strong pitching performance from sophomore Garrett Brown. Brown pitched four innings without giving up an earned run and added two hits at the plate. B.J. White hit a home run and Duncan Asbury added two hits while Kyle Gothard, Tyler Jones and Mathew Christian all contributed singles. Kyle Gothard pitched two innings in relief and Mathew Christian earned the save retiring the final three batters in the seventh inning.
In the second game, the Bulldogs allowed two runs in the top of the seventh to lose 4-3. Koty Tyson started on the mound and went six innings allowing only one earned run. Taylor Grigsby came on in relief. B.J. White had three hits and three RBI, Chase Hegwood had two hits while Tyler Jones and Grigsby added singles.
OHS will host Satsuma High School Saturday at Bulldog Park at 1 p.m. Satsuma will play Troup High School of Georgia Saturday after the Opelika game.
The varsity girls softball team traveled to Gulf Shores earlier this week to participate in the “Gulf Shores Invitational.” The Lady Bulldogs were one of 50 teams from around the United States invited to play in the tournament. OHS went 3-2 in pool play and advanced to the single elimination round in 17th place. The tournament was not completed at press time.
The Opelika soccer team has a new coach this year. Chad Smith is in his first year as a coach and teacher at OHS. Smith has the soccer team playing great and the team is now 8-3 overall. I recently had the chance to interview Coach Smith on my radio show, “On The Mark,” and we talked about the first half of the season.
The following is a review of the games to this point in the season.
Coach Smith has been surprised at the early success of the team. He expected a slow start, but believes the leadership of the older guys during practice and in matches is the reason for the quick start. The Dawgs opened up against one of the best soccer programs in the state which happens to be our long-time rival, Auburn High. The Tigers shutout OHS 6-0 but Coach Smith said he saw positive things in the loss.
We played Smiths Station next. The team played better and the game was scoreless at the end of regulation, despite good shots from Adrien Parker, Sandro Cruz, Vixay Mouangchan and Steven Alvarado. The game had to be decided by penalty kicks (PKs). Smiths made all of their shots while Opelika missed one, giving the Panthers the win.
Coach Smith was very proud of Adrien Parker, who played the game one day after his mother passed away. The team wore black arm bands in honor of Parker’s mother.
Smith chose to play Adrien the entire game because of the courage he showed that night.
The Bulldogs earned their first win in game three, against Alabama Christian, 3-2.
Sandro Cruz, Vixay Mouangchan and Vixienne Mouanghan each scored goals. The guys came back to win again the next game against Jacksonville, 1-0. The defense played awesome, led by keeper Koty Tyson. The other defensive standouts were JD Atkins, Hunter Weygand, Brennan VanMeter and Jonathan Kittles.
We next defeated Central 7-0 and Northview 2-0 to extend the win streak. Smith said the team started to believe they could be good at this point in the season. We were playing Smiths Station again, another important region game. Smiths scored first and put pressure on the Dawgs to step up their play. Two players stepped up and provided leadership: Steven Alvarado and Garrett Stephens. These two players rallied the team to come back but could not hold on for the win.
Coach Smith thought the loss was not as bad as you might think because his team fought back and displayed character. Smith was right. The Bulldogs bounced back to down Dothan scoring the winning goal with two minutes left in the game. OHS is in first place in the region and in good shape for the playoffs. Coach Chad Smith has his team going in the right direction and is showing the fans he was the right choice to be the new soccer coach at OHS.
Opelika All-Sports Booster Club
The All-Sports Booster Club is in the process of sending out letters to our corporate sponsors for the 2012-2013 school year. The packet will contain information about next season’s sponsorship.
The corporate sponsors, along with football program ads, are the lifeline of the booster club support of the OHS/OMS athletic program.
We could not operate the way we do without these sponsors.
If you would like to be a corporate sponsor, please call the athletic office at (334) 745-9718 or contact me at (334) 319-0467 or Mike Melnick at (334) 744-5411.
The cheerleaders are selling ads for the 2012 football program. If you want to purchase an ad please call the same people listed above or Brandy Riddle at (334) 745-9715.
I will have more information on the sponsorship packages in the coming weeks.
OHS Basketball Coach
The High school is now accepting applications for the head basketball coach position. Coach Blackmon said he will hire the best coach for Opelika. Blackmon has made several huge hires including the girls basketball coach Devin Booth, soccer coach Chad Smith, volleyball coach Melissa Bennett, track coach Jimmy Johnson, cheerleading coach Brandy Riddle and baseball coach Scott Sullivan.
If you look at that list, you have to agree that we are in good hands with Athletic Director Coach Blackmon heading up the current search.