By Tony Hooker
So, this season is starting out a little bit more normally than the previous sports season.
How are the kids who play volleyball/ football adjusting to being in baseball/softball at the same time?
They have done well. You can tell they are more worn out and usually show signs of soreness and fatigue on Saturday practices after a Friday night game. They have been making it to practices for the most part and they really make practices go better. We have 29 players on the team and 13 play football.
Who are key returnees that you’ll be leaning on this season?
Ryan Cheatham, Nick Coffin, Noah Davison, Carson Howard, Mason Wyant. These players all started as sophomores on our team that finished 17-11. Finishing second in the LOVC SE Division to Cumberland, which were the only conf losses.
Who are some key losses that you’ll have to fill?
Last season we obviously did not get to have a season due to COVID but we lost Keagan Patterson, Owen Weisman, Nathan Chewning, Jacob Carlson, and Matt Rutledge to graduation. Each of those individuals were going to see innings on the mound for us last season. They will truly be missed.
Are there any newcomers who will be expected to contribute?
We are hoping Tyler Wilson, Luke Zimmerman, Liam Barr to step up this season. They have a great attitude and work ethic. They are three juniors that missed out on a lot of opportunities by not having a season last year. Sophomore Sam Bender has stepped up his efforts on the mound and we are hoping he will be able to step up and be our number three or four pitcher for the team.
What are your expectations for the season?
We hope to compete in every game and play the game the right way. We have a great group of seniors that love the game of baseball. I want them to enjoy every game we get and after last season, I really hope nobody takes anything for granted.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
It is a shame this is the last year of the sports co-op for baseball. These players have worked hard to build a program that competes every season for the conference. They have had the opportunity to develop as a younger player that was not ready to compete at the varsity level, then turn around as a more experienced player, and become an all-conference player and even a News Gazette first team all-area player. The teams that have come through here have established a culture of expectations and success. Teams that play VGH know they are playing a team that is going to challenge them and make you have to be ready. I really hope the younger players enjoy this year because next season without the co-op it is going to look a lot different for both schools. The Co-op is an opportunity for players to grow and be challenged. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with the players from both schools and really hope the players leave this season a season to remember.