Coming off a banner 2012 season that ended in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs, the Cavaliers are set to hit the field on Monday for the first official day of practice as sanctioned by the Georgia High School Association.
Callaway’s players have had a busy offseason participating in the program’s conditioning program, and now it’s time to get things going in preparation for a season that begins in February.
Callaway has a scrimmage game against LaGrange on Feb. 15, with the first official game set for Feb. 23.
“I think the biggest thing right now is, your guys are itching to get out there and get going,” Callaway head coach Dusty Hubbard said. “They’re tired of running, tired of lifting, tired of hitting on their own and throwing on their own. They’re ready for it to be a little more structured, to get out there. Once it starts, they feel like the season’s upon us.”
Hubbard said most of the players come into practice in terrific shape.
“We feel like we’ve had the best offseason we’ve had in a long time with our strength and conditioning and things like that. I think our guys are prepared,” Hubbard said. “They’re ready to get out there and start doing some baseball stuff. They’re tired of the training part of it.”
Hubbard said the first four days of practice will be used as varsity tryouts.
Then on Friday, the eighth graders will get their chance to show what they can do without the presence of the veterans on the field.
“You don’t really get a good look at the eighth-graders if you have them out there with all the veterans,” Hubbard said. “You’d rather give them two days of nothing but attention on them, then four days where you’re trying to watch 30, 40 other kids. We just feel like that’s a little more fair to them. That’s kind of the way we’ve done it in the past, and it’s worked pretty well.”
On Saturday, Hubbard said the veterans will return for the first intra-squad scrimmage.
The Cavaliers head into the season with high expectations.
Most of the key players from last year’s team that went 26-7, won a region championship and made it to the third round of the state playoffs are back.
A tough early-season schedule, which includes an appearance in the LaGrange Toyota Invitational, will test the players.
“We know our schedule’s going to be really tough, especially early. And we want it that way,” Hubbard said. “We want to be able to have a good idea of what we’ve got, and what we need to work on. We feel like we have a veteran club. If we have a few setbacks, they can handle that. I think it’s only going to make us better in the long run.”