Toccoa Falls Athletics have been through a whirlwind of change over the last few years. It is common that athletes transfer in or out, but the athletic department has seen a surge of coaching turnover the last few years. The Screaming Eagles are in their first season under Head Baseball coach, Jeff Mullikin, and have struggled thus far. The program brought in more than thirty recruits this year, but have not been able to find the chemistry needed to win games. It is evident, even from the stands, that there is frustration about the seasons turnout. However, there is hope on the horizon according to Senior Team leader Nathan Stanley.
I spoke with Nathan about what the team needs to turn the season around, what are some positive things the team is doing, and the major area of improvement needed.
Nathan says, “The major factor in turning the team around is constant support from players, staff, and the student body. I have played sports my entire life, and I know how frustrating it can be to play on a team that has no support from players or fans. It is demoralizing playing in front of home crowd that does not cheer or support.” The Toccoa Falls fans have been extremely supportive and the team is looking forward to continued support from students, staff, and family members.
In spite of their lackluster record, there are good signs from a very, young team. Stanley talked positively by saying, “There are good things to be said about this team. The guys love each other and compete hard every day at practice to get better. We challenge each other on and off the field.” It is great to hear that the team pushes each other on the field, but their off-field chemistry is going to play a major factor in their success.
According to Stanley, the one area that still has not clicked for the Screaming Eagles this season is the mental aspect. He explains, “As a team, we need to realize that each day is an opportunity to build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over. Our mental aspect of the game needs to improve as we begin to head towards conference play.”
Whether it is mental toughness, team chemistry, or just bad luck that is plaguing the Screaming Eagles Baseball team, there is no doubt that they are working frantically to figure it out. They have played opponents well, but have not been able to close out games. It will be interesting to see how things progress as conference play gets into full swing. If nothing else, there is optimism in the voice of one of the team leaders. Nathan continues to see the positive by stating, “As we are gearing toward beginning conference play, we expect to get on a hot streak. The last week, we have played top tier opponents and played them well. With our team chemistry and mental capacity for the game expanding, there is nothing but bright horizons ahead.”