New Red Bay head baseball coach excited for seasonPublished 2:57pm Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By Keith Ledbetter
For the FCT
Head Tiger baseball coach Richard Maggerise can actually say he has returned to his roots.
Although Maggerise lived the majority of his life in Tuscaloosa, he was born in Red Bay 26 years ago.
After moving at the age of three, Maggerise, at 18, moved to Russellville so his dad could be closer to his family.
“I wasn’t ready to leave home yet so I went with them,” Maggerise said.
“It was the best decision I’ve made because it gave me a chance to get involved with sports.”
After teaching and coaching at Tharptown and Russellville, he got an opportunity to come to Red Bay last year where he started teaching 7th, 9th, and 12th grade history. He also coached football and baseball as an assistant.
“When the head baseball coaching position came open this past spring, it was offered to me and I took it, and I haven’t looked back,” he said.
“I knew I was going to be a young head coach, but this is something that I’ve always wanted to do. It’s by far one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
As head baseball coach, “Coach Magic”, as he is called by Red Bay students and athletes, had an opportunity to spend time with his players this past summer.
“We had 10 days this summer to do workouts and play some games,” he said. “That’s not much time if you’re trying to implement anything new.”
Red Bay played 10 games this summer – five of which was with Tharptown. The Tigers won four out of the five and finished the summer program with an 8-2 record.
“This is a great improvement for us,” Maggerise said. “Last year, unfortunately we went through the season with six ninth graders on the field at any given time.
“It’s hard to play a young team with a tough schedule like we had last year.”
Maggerise said those ninth graders have a lot more experience and are now sophomores.
“They have really blossomed this summer,” Maggerise added.
Maggerise also said the Tigers have been very fortunate to have a couple of key transfer students.
“Fred Nethery and Troy Borden will play vital roles on our team this year,” he said.
“Borden, who bats cleanup, is going to be a great asset to us, but we have to find a way to protect him.
“Hopefully we can get runners on base when he gets up to bat.”
Maggerise said Nick Thorn will bat around Borden some and so will Jade Pounds – both of which are the Tigers’ top hitters that have returned from last year.
Red Bay’s area play starts March 24 against Phil Campbell, and they will host Colbert Heights on March 31.
“Our area is the same as our basketball area,” Maggerise said.
“We have Phil Campbell, Cherokee, and Colbert Heights.”
Maggerise said that Colbert Heights and Phil Campbell were #1 and #2 respectively last year, but Phil Campbell won the area tournament with Colbert Heights coming in second.
“Colbert Heights had a lot of seniors last year, but they are still going to be very good baseball team this year,” he said.
“Their pitcher is Jeffery Mitchell and he is already being looked at by Mississippi State.”
Maggerise said he throws in the low to mid 80s and has a pretty good off-speed curve ball.
“Colbert Heights always has a good solid baseball team. We’re going to have to do little things and maybe those little things will help in the game, especially against a good pitcher.”
According to Maggerise Phil Campbell had a lot of seniors last year as well, but they will be returning Colton Vickery, who was their best basketball player. Vickery is 6’5” and is also their ace pitcher.
“He doesn’t throw as hard as Mitchell for Colbert Heights, but he does a good job at keeping it low and keeping it away. Plus he has a good hammer curve.”
Maggerise says that Phil Campbell always puts a solid defense behind them, and Coach Raper always does a great job.
As far as Cherokee, Maggerise says that they have a great group of kids and are very athletic.
“I’m excited about the season,” Maggerise said.
“We have a young team, but we have a group of kids who work really hard.
“Some of our kids stepped out of basketball right into baseball and haven’t missed a beat.”