03/01/13 — BASEBALL TAB -- Massey not measuring Cougars' success in W's and L's

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BASEBALL TAB -- Massey not measuring Cougars' success in W's and L's

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on March 1, 2013 1:47 PM

The progress that Goldsboro High School's baseball team has made cannot be measured in wins and losses.

At least not yet.

Coming off an 0-18 campaign in 2012, the Cougars have made significant strides to improve the quality of their baseball product in 2013. Second-year head coach Jackson Massey has a group of young players that he thinks can help change the program's current culture.

Goldsboro's last victory came against Rocky Mount Prep two seasons ago.

"The big thing for us this year is that we have some varsity experience coming back," Massey said. "Last year we did not have a single senior, so we are better prepared this season to be competitive."

Massey, a former pitcher at Mount Olive College, knows that playing solid baseball starts on the pitcher's mound. The Cougars have spent much of their early practice time searching for men who can handle the workload on the hill.

"We have eight or nine guys that have been doing the pitching workouts and right now I am confident that we have four who can take the mound and be effective," Massey said. "(Ronald) Woody threw a lot of innings last year and he will probably be our go-to guy this season."

Woody has emerged as a leader for the Cougars. He benefited from time spent over the summer on the Wayne County Post 11 American Legion team.

"I think that experience was huge for him," Massey said. "Even though he did not get to play as much as he would have liked, he was able to practice with the best players around and learn from how they approach the game."

Along with Woody, Jamal Moses and Miguel Lugo will be called on to take the ball and throw strikes. If the Cougars' defense improves as much as Massey hopes, his hurlers should have an easier time getting outs.

"We have to cut down on the mistakes defensively from last year," Massey said. "The hitting is going to start slow, it does for every team, but if we can make the easy plays in the field we can be in a lot of ballgames."

Despite not recording a win in 2012, the Cougars did show improvement defensively as the season wore on. They pushed Ayden-Grifton and North Duplin the second time through the Carolina 1-A Conference slate.

"Those two games were our best two and they came against good teams," Massey said. "We were only down 3-1 to Ayden-Grifton in the bottom of the sixth and then we had to make a pitching change and the game kind of unraveled. I think our guys know that we can play with good teams, but we have to make progress as group in order to win games like that."

Goldsboro opened its season Wednesday against Kinston and will play six non-conference games in a 10-day stretch. The Cougars start Carolina 1-A Conference play at home March 19 against North Duplin.

"I think every team's goal is to be competitive in their conference and ultimately make the playoffs," Massey said. "I like where we are now after one week of practice and hopefully we will continue to improve as we get close to the season opener."