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Murphy: Baseball is back
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Hope springs eternal for local baseball teams this time of the year. Everyone is starting with a clean slate.

Aspirations for school records, region titles and dreams of a state championship are all still in tact as the high school baseball season gets into gear. It’s the first crack of the bat after a long, cold winter. The pop of the mit is a subtle reminder that warmer days are just around the corner.

These first games of the season aren’t that important in the long run. It’s a time for coaches to tinker with rosters and get younger players valuable playing time before the all-important region schedules begin. But all that matters now is that baseball season has finally begun.

"It’s just great to finally be playing," Buford coach Tony Wolfe said after the Wolves beat Gainesville 20-9 Friday night at Ivey-Watson Field. "Everyone is optimistic this time of the season."

For most teams, their best baseball should still be ahead of them. Most teams are still seeing players get back on the field from the end of winter sports. And some teams still aren’t through with the winter season, leaving baseball rosters shorthanded for the time being.

No matter how experienced the roster, every team is still working out the kinks with early-season mistakes. The fielding at this point in the season may not be its sharpest. Routine plays aren’t always that routine yet.

Coaches are always trying to keep the pitch counts low and letting more players see action on the mound to see who can cut it.

The players on the field are the first to show their enthusiasm to finally be playing. The baseball chatter around the dugout can be heard loud and clear even for those removed from the field of play. Everybody wants to help their team get out to a quick start on the season and keep those championship dreams alive and well.

Fans are also eager to usher in the baseball season, as evident by the large crowd on hand for the Red Elephants’ season opener at Ivey-Watson Field.

A little bit of cold weather is not too much for die-hard baseball fans. Chilly rain, no problem.

Even the field lets fans at players know its still early in the season with the signs of winter and a hard drought on display.

But none of that matters to players and fans. All that matters is its time to play ball.

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