Seniors’ departure poses problems for baseball team
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At the end of the season, 13 seniors are leaving the boys baseball team. This leaves only seven players, which is not enough to fill every position on the field. Although this is not the first time the team has faced the departure of a large senior class, the loss of 65 percent of the team will still make an impact.
“For the past five to six years, we’ve had dwindling numbers,” head coach Kenny White said. “If it wasn’t for that freshman class four years ago, who knows where we’d be right now.” Since then, however, there hasn’t been as large of an influx of members from the three classes that came afterwards.
“[The senior class] is just a really big part of the team- most of our seniors are the strongest players to put in the lineup,” senior Tim Elko said. “As it stands right now, there’s only going to be six or seven players next year.”
Although some players have expressed concerns about the lack of members for next year, White explained that this has happened in the past. “Everything in high school comes in cycles- you can’t go out and recruit certain positions that you want like in college,” White said. ”We’ve gone through [losing a lot of seniors] before.”
Losing such a large number of seniors creates several possible issues, including a lack of power hitters and pitchers. The majority of the infield and starting lineup will also need to be replaced.
As it stands there will be only two seniors on the team next year. It could also affect whether or not the team is able to continue to work well together. “We have good team chemistry,” senior Ryan Romano said.
There will have to be “a lot of leadership” on the part of the seniors next year, junior Aaron Jensen said. “We’ll need a lot of practice and a lot of work outside just the school-based practices,” he said.
The team hopes to compensate for the loss of seniors through a strong freshman class, whose participation may be attracted by spreading awareness of the baseball team and its need for players.
“I’m going to try to learn as much as possible from the team that’s leaving,” sophomore Nathan Gustafson said. “It’s easy to go to older guys for guidance because most of them have been playing for four years so they know a lot about this stuff.”
The current players, however, plan on making the best out of this last season. “A lot of the kids in this class have been able to develop, especially over the last summer,” Elko said. “This could be the best season ever just because we have a lot of experience.”