BHS baseball ready to begin Friday
Brock Hartshorn is tired of his Baldwin High School baseball team using the excuse of being a young team, so he’s putting an end to that this season.
During the past two seasons, his Bulldogs’ squad has suffered losing seasons, while starting mostly underclassmen. A year ago, the Bulldogs finished the season 5-15 after going 7-14 in 2008.
The majority of the players on those squads are now juniors who have two years of varsity experience. Hartshorn is hoping the playing time they’ve received for two years will create wins this spring.
“I told our guys on the first day, the excuse that we’re young is over,” Hartshorn said. “We have seven two-year starters that will be starting for their third year. We’re a little more experienced than we’ve been in the past.
“We’re still without the senior leadership that we need, but we do have a couple seniors who will play for us,” he said. “We’ve gone through some growing pains when we had seven freshman playing varsity. They think this is the year we need to improve. We need to show it. We’ve challenged them every day to get better.”
In 2008, BHS had seven freshmen impact the varsity team. A year ago, those players were sophomores who continued to help the program. The Bulldogs had a couple more freshmen also play last spring.
Junior Kyle Pattrick was one of the freshman two years ago. He’s been through two losing seasons, but said the team should improve this year.
“The last couple of years, we’ve had a lot of talent, but we’ve just been really young,” Pattrick said. “This year, I think we’ll do a little bit better, because we’re getting older and more mature.”
The Bulldogs’ coach believes his team should show signs of improvement from last spring.
“We should be a more competitive team, as far we’re deeper than we’ve been in the past couple of years,” Hartshorn said. “We’re still looking for pitching. That will be the key to our success, if we can find some guys who can go out there and keep the ball down in the strike zone and throw a lot of strikes.”
The still youthful, but experienced Bulldogs’ squad is set to begin the season Friday in Overbrook. However, much like the BHS softball team, the Bulldogs haven’t been able to practice on their new field west of town, but they did practice on the smaller baseball field twice last week.
Cold temperature and wet weather have kept the Bulldogs inside for most of the month. The BHS gymnasium has become their temporary practice facility.
“This is practice No. 16 and we’ve been indoor 14 of those days,” Hartshorn said. “Because of the weather, right now our field is under construction. Hopefully, we get out there for a couple days this week.
“The kids have adapted really well,” he said. “They are excited about baseball and they’ve come in here and worked hard, even though we’re taking infield off of a gym floor instead of dirt or grass. They are anxious to get outside, where baseball is supposed to be played, and get out of the gym.”
The Bulldogs held two practices at the new complex west of town at the end of last week. They scrimmaged both days and held normal practices on the junior varsity field. Being outside was wonderful for the players.
“It was really nice,” Pattrick said. “It was a lot of fun to be outside. We got to hit a little while and be on a real field. The weather was nice both days, which was great.”
Baldwin is scheduled to start its season at 4 p.m. Friday in Overbrook. It will be a single game against Santa Fe Trail.
“We’re excited,” Hartshorn said. “It’s a team we’ve never played since I’ve been here. We don’t know a lot about them. It will be a Friday night game, which we don’t play too often. Hopefully, the weather holds up and we get to play that game.”
Next week, the Bulldogs will host Saint James Academy Tuesday and De Soto on Thursday.
“We’re excited to play,” Pattrick said. “We’re ready to start playing games, because practicing indoors for a long time isn’t fun.”