Running through the bases

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Running through the bases

Jessica Palakovich

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As the baseball team prepares for the 2015-2016 season, they have focused their efforts on achieving the common goals to have a winning record this season.
These goals, which include uniting the team to work as one force. Practicing the the team’s weakest areas will be the team’s focus as they prepare for games this season.
The coaches have put them through rigorous training to make sure the team reaches their goals and to have fun while they accomplish them.
The training agenda varies from hitting and batting practice to defensive work and specialized workouts for the pitchers and catchers.
“And we [the coaches] adjust, based on what we feel needs focus and work,” Coach Dan O’Leary said.
Though some of them may do the workouts separately according to which position they play, they all unite as one team during their scrimmages and games. Improvement among the players is inevitable with the amount of time and hard work every member of the team has put forth.
“[All positions are] equally challenging because you cannot have a weak point on a baseball team,” Sophomore Josh Beck said.
When asked about if he believes one position is more difficult than another, Senior RJ Schlegel said, “I think that there is pressure on being a relief pitcher, as you are brought in to relieve the starting pitcher and have to go out there and be just as good, if not better than he is.”
Sophomore Jason Norman also believes this to be true.
“All positions hold the same amount of weight,” Norman said, “If a player in any position would slack, it would affect the whole team.”
Not only do the coaches want the players to show improvement on their individual skills, but also to show growth as a person.
“I judge a successful season as to how the players grow and mature not just as players, but as young adults,” O’Leary said.
There are many aspects to the game, many don’t realize that all mental preparation plays a role in these aspects. Senior Garin Piehler said that his weakness is mentally getting his head in the game.
“Once I do get into the mental zone, I’m dialed in and focused,” Piehler said.
Since working as one unit is one of the many goals that they want to achieve, they attempt to drill together, as well as work individually with the coaches, during practices.
“We have a greater sense of team [by] working together and playing as a team, which I am hopeful will carry over on to the ballfield, once the season begins,” O’Leary said.
The goals have even been recognized by some of the players who feel that teamwork is essential to win games, strengthen the team’s record and enjoy the sport while they’re doing so.
“[I would like to improve on] working on the chemistry that our team has to come closer to work as one unit,” Piehler said.
On March 17, this chemistry was displayed in the team’s first scrimmage of the season against Carlynton.
During the first inning, Junior Nicholas Henderson scored the first run. He did this from an error made by the opposing team by allowing him reach first base.
“Scoring first and taking advantage of opponent mistakes are both key goals for us this year,” O’Leary said.
In the third inning, the first two batters reached base from a pitch and another error. This eventually lead to Henderson scoring a double.
For a while the weather was rainy, dark and cloudy. But this didn’t stop them. It seemed as if they worked even harder.
Seniors Brad Eckman, Evin DiCiero and Piehler all hit doubles themselves.
Eckman, DiCiero, Junior Zack Greene and Jason Norman served as the pitchers for scrimmage. Their starting record was 20 out of 26 pitch strikes.
Senior Hunter Giles was substituted in the game to run for Piehler, who had doubled in the bottom of the sixth inning. DiCiero was up at bat and hit a double. This resulted in Hunter sliding into home plate, securing the final run of the game.
When questioned about his enthusiasm toward this season, Giles said that his goal is to win games and be the best player he can be, in order to make it to the playoffs.
With all of the players pitching in, the score ended with a victory of 7-0.
The baseball team’s second and final scrimmage occurred on March 21. The team traveled to Pullman Park in Butler, where they faced Western Beaver.
One of the greatest successes of the game was that out of the 26 the batters they faced, they didn’t walk any of them.
They finished with a resounding triumph; Freedom defeated Western Beaver 17-0.
The team felt very confident going into their first real game of the season.
“I think we’re more than prepared for our game on Thursday [March 24],” Senior Jacob Moldovan said.
The game, which was against Rochester, was proof that all the team’s efforts from all the conditioning and preparation that the team endured to make the season a great one paid off.
“We are ready to bring a win against Rochester,” Moldovan said.
They did just that, during all seven innings, with a final score of 7-4.
Besides earning seven runs and five hits, Freedom made four errors. Greene, who pitched in a total of four innings, had four strikeouts.
Due to the team’s harmony on and off the field, they are off to a great start this season.

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