The West Ranch High School freshman baseball team is attempting to carry on the legacy of the last year’s undefeated team, which had 27 wins. Although this year’s team may not have as much talent as the previous year’s team had, everybody maintains high hopes.
Whether it be taking hacks in the cages or doing conditioning drills, the team members take everything very seriously. When asked what the team’s strongest skill was, the freshman head coach Chris Caldwell, replied, “One of our strongest skills is our hitting ability. We have players that are future Varsity contributors with the possibility of playing college baseball, as long as they stay on the right path. With the aggressive offense, we can get the upper hand early on in the game.”
However, this freshman team does have weaknesses in which they spend countless hours trying to perfect.
Nicholas Perez, the starting catcher, justifies, “The skill that we probably lack most is not being able to execute defensive plays, and small mistakes from these can cost us the game. We are trying to improve by running these plays everyday, and if we cannot do it right during practices, we end up having to run.”
The team hopes that by perfecting these plays, they can become better that the last year’s team. Ryan Farr, the shortstop, told JSR, “We are preparing for season by obviously working on our weaknesses and working on the little things that don’t seem to have big impact, but actually do. It could be turning double plays, throwing runners out, etc. If we cannot execute these little things correctly, we can lose a lot more games.”
Although baseball is a very physically challenging sport, it is also very difficult mentally. Unlike last year’s team, the present freshman team lacks team chemistry, which is the relationship and interaction among team members. A weak team chemistry can cause a team sport, like baseball, to become very challenging as the players are acting as individuals instead of as one unit.
“I believe that what will really bring us more wins is the strong chemistry that we need to establish. There is a lot to be said about a team with a ‘pack mentality’, meaning the players that think ‘team first’. The past two freshman teams have had a lot of success because they believed in one another to do their job correctly. So long story short, we need to prepare these guys to act as one, instead of 20 individuals,” Caldwell added.
The players have recognized the lack of team chemistry and are all trying to become closer together by hanging out more often, helping each other with school work, and especially making sure they have each other’s backs. Hopefully, all the hard work the freshman players are putting in will pay off as the school and the baseball program are anticipating another undefeated season.