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Casey at the bat
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It's official: Alcovy High's Casey Bates was named the varsity baseball coach Thursday, replacing Joe Mobley of two years.

"I'll do whatever it takes to help out," Bates said. "The program's there. The region we came from is a very tough region with high-quality teams, but I think the baseball team has come a long way in the last couple of years."

Bates, who has been the assistant baseball coach for two years, is also head skipper of the Alcovy varsity softball team.

"Anytime you get a chance to be a head coach it's exciting," Bates admitted. "At the same time, I'm not giving up softball. The way the program's going in softball I want to keep coaching now because we've come a long way and we're going to keep going a long way."

In their inaugural season, the Lady Tigers went 4-19 overall; however, last year they were 16-11, a vast improvement in such a short span of time.

"I think we have a very strong coaching staff," said Alcovy assistant principal/athletic director Chris Haymore. "As for softball, Coach Bates has been very excited and very enthusiastic, and I think he'll have the same spirit and that the baseball program will continue to improve.

"A solid baseball program has been laid," Haymore added, "and he will continue to build on that."

Last week Mobley, who will remain at the school and as offensive coordinator for the Alcovy varsity football team, resigned as baseball coach after compiling an overall 11-35 record.

"As far as Coach Mobley's concerned, I loved coaching with him - great man, great person, great coach," Bates acknowledged. "It's just that he had to look out for his best interest, and I support everything he did and said."

According to Bates, the most exciting part of taking over is the return of the bulk of the team and the new class the Tigers will compete in, Region 4-AAAA.

Without question, they faced some stiff competition this year, and not much should change despite the reclassification.

Loganville and Salem, opponents of Alcovy, were among the final four in the Class AAAA State Tournament this season.

Griffin, who will be in the same region as Alcovy come next season, will face Loganville today for the state championship.

In related news, Newton High is still conducting its search to replace former baseball head coach Billy Roper, who also resigned last week.

Roper accepted a football/baseball assistant coaching position at North Cobb High.