Coming off a Birmingham Industrial Baseball League Championship in 2016, the Blue Sox baseball team is already off to an undefeated start in their 2017 campaign.
But the Centre-based team isn’t just continuing their success from last year. They’re out to prove themselves again.
“We want people to know that 2016 wasn’t a fluke,” says utility player and assistant coach JoJo Bynum. “There was a reason we won it in the first place, and we need to go out and show everyone one more time.”
Just four games into the season, the defending champions are already well on their way to competing for a title again. They've defeated four of the five teams in the league. The Blue Sox opened the home portion of their schedule on June 10 by outlasting the Gadsden Raiders 12-11.
Much of the core 2016 roster has returned to the team in 2017, including Bynum, Darius Rudolph, Kevin Covington and Shawn Covington.
Rudolph, an infielder, is a former player in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization. Kevin Covington, one of the team's utility players, was in the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization. Shawn Covington, an outfielder/designated hitter, was in the Texas Rangers' organization.
Infielder Greg Rudolph also has big league experience within the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
Darius Rudolph claimed his second consecutive batting title last season. Bynum is the reigning championship series MVP.
If there is any position the Blue Sox are piecing together, it’s on the mound. Austin Carpenter, the team’s ace hurler, moved on to a coaching job in the offseason.
But where the Blue Sox may be lacking in pitching, they are more than making up for on offense. They've scored 46 runs through their first four games this season.
“For this season, we want to build on the core we have, add some missing links, win this league again, and then go on to some qualifying tournaments,” Bynum said.
The Blue Sox travel to Birmingham on Saturday to take on the Birmingham Cardinals, and on Sunday they will host the Buck Village Stars. Start times for both games are 3:30 p.m.