| BSB/SB ⚾ Baseball Regional: Alabama gets eliminated by Stetson with 4-0 loss. Season = Over

I think Bama's only been shutout once this season... back at Kentucky. If they can't score today, in an elimination game against Stetson... that would be one disappointingly shitty way to end the year... They've had some 9th inning magic this year, so maybe they conjure some of that and do it again in their final 6 outs, but they aren't exactly exuding confidence at the plate right now...
Pathetic performance at the end of the season to what was a good first year for Vaughn.

Need to get rid of JJ, go get some quality pitchers, and snag some more decent hitters. Vaughn can definitely right the ship. Need to get this program playing better later in the year.
A rambling stream of thoughts as the season is now over...

-Vaughn said at the start of the season that he wanted the team to be a different team (in a better, more improved way) at the end of the year than it was at the start... unfortunately, that didn't really happen. Baseball can be a weird sport with the ebbs and flows of a season, but Bama really ended with a whimper, not a bang. They were let down in every phase during that last stretch... it'll be a lot to chew on for Vaughn I'd imagine during the long offseason.

-People know my stance on Jason Jackson as the pitching coach, but I'll state it again. In a perfect world, he'd take a HC job elsewhere and Bama would upgrade. This isn't a perfect world. He won't be fired, and I doubt he will get a job offer that he wants right now. He will likely be back for the 2nd year of his contract and then a decision will be made after that. As I've also said, and this isn't a knock on Vaughn, but he's still young and only been in the SEC for a year now... I'm not sure he's ready to make that hire... yet.

-Speaking of his first year in the SEC, Vaughn was on a learning journey. If he was being honest, I'd bet he'd say that the SEC is an even bigger monster than he imagined. Every team is stacked, some just more than others. Most every team is extremely well coached. The resources around the league are unmatched compared to other conferences. It is the same sport as the one from the Big Ten, but it is played in a completely different world. He's going to have to adjust and adapt. Improve on the things that worked and correct the things that didn't. More on that in the next thought...

-First order of business will be to shape the roster to fit his style of play... he came in this year and implemented a super aggressive approach at the plate. But, he didn't have the hitters to really pull that off, especially against above average SEC pitching. A guy like Gage Miller thrived, but the lineup(s) were filled with too many guys who struggled with that approach. And the better teams and opposing staffs, took advantage of that.

-The defense this year, overall, was awful. Up the middle with C, SS, 2B (with Eblin), and CF... things were ok (but the starting C, 2B, and CF are now gone)... Gage Miller improved over the course of the season at 3rd, but he's gone now too. 1B was a problem. RF and LF were borderline disasterous that proved to be costly too many times. The team needs bats, but they need hitters who can also play defense and outfielders with some range and arms.

-Overall, the pitching was disappointing, but probably not as bad overall as most think. The early season injury to Riley Quick was a huge blow... IMO he's going to be a very good SEC starter with his stuff. Hess took a while to get on track, but finally started to figure things out late in the year... better then than never, but the hope was for him to hold that Friday night spot and be the hoss... and that didn't happen. Farone was the opposite of Hess... he really filled the weekend void early, but seemed to run out of gas the last few weeks. A bright spot was freshman Zane Adams... a lot was asked of him to step up into the rotation and overall, I thought he answered the bell. That experience will be very valuable for him next season as a So. in the starting rotation. The bullpen really fell way below expectations. Zero consistency there from the key arms. A couple of injuries didn't help, but that's part of it. Really needed Moza to be better. Davis II had control issues all season that never got ironed out. My hope is that they develop Tyler Fay, Braylon Meyers, or Matthew Heiberger into the setup and closer roles (while finding/developing a good lefty to compete with them) and move Davis II into a starter's (Sunday?) role. IMO, the routine of a starter would be a better for him and I think he could have a really bright future there with his ability... again, he just needs to get his control fixed. He's got the stuff. As for returners, getting Hagan Banks back healthy would be a plus.. he's reliable and versatile as a starter or reliever.

-Bama is going to lose some good players to the draft... Gage Miller most likely, Hess, etc. In addition to that, several other everyday players are now out of eligibility. Holding onto the remaining key core of guys will be extremely important. I'm not too concerned with most of the more important pieces (like LeBron) transferring out, but we'll just have to see how it plays out. Obviously, there will be players who leave, for different reasons. Just like the other sports like football and basketball, you want to hang onto the ones you really need. As for bringing in some talent, next thought...

-There will be big holes in the lineup with all the attrition. Some promising young players/bats are there, but they are mostly unproven... Luke Vaughn at catcher for example. Cole Mizell is another, I really like him... I've only seen him a few times in games and scrimmages, but he is one of those guys that should thrive at the plate under Vaughn. But, the transfor portal will be key. Vaughn is going to have to land some bats and some arms. And he did ok with it last year, but overall not great. Hopefully, he has a much better feel for what level of player he needs for the SEC now. And hopefully, he's got some money to spend to lure some of those guys. The portal opens up on Monday, so the action will begin soon.

-While the season ended with a whimper, there's still some reasons to be optimistic and excited about where this program can go under Vaughn. They had a couple of forgettable weekends against teams like UGA and Kentucky, but they also went toe to toe with teams like Tennessee and Arkansas. They showed sme fight against A&M when they were red hot. They showed some grit and toughness in Starkville when they were sick as dogs, but came out on Sunday and salvaged the series in an emphatic manner. For a first year, it wasn't bad by any means. A good foundation was laid. Vaughn and his staff just need to build on it and keep stacking good seasons. It won't be easy, but it can be done.
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