Baseball team full swing in 2017 season

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Left- Joshua Copeland Right- Cuyler O’Neill

Stephen Knecht, Reporter

The season is here, and it’s time to root, root, root for the home team.

The varsity baseball team is currently 7-1 going into action tonight, March 21, versus Heritage.

“Our team is loose, outgoing, charismatic, and there are a couple of characters on the team, but we all get along,” senior John Garvey said.

Despite the inconveniences of last year’s season, coach Michael Joyner is planning on improving.

“We had a lot of injuries along the way that kind of prohibited us from having a higher seed, but we were the last team to make it to the playoffs, so we were happy about that,” Joyner said.

Joyner has been motivating the players during practices for the upcoming season.

According to Garvey, throughout the summer, the players had to attend workouts, some as early as 6 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

So far, Joyner has seen advancement in the team as a whole.

“I’ve noticed that they’re more focused on offense. As far as situational baseball, they’ve been able to use the whole field more offensively,” Joyner said.

The returning players have been working on strengthening their skills as well.

“John Garvey is one of my top performing players. He was in the lineup for almost every game last season,” Joyner said. “Then there’s Connor Loeffler, who’s now a junior and plays third base and shortstop, so he’s able to play multiple positions for us. He’s now primed and ready to play shortstop for us this year.”

Garvey leads the team with runs scored, and Loeffler has an on base percentage of .429 with five hits.

Each player’s individual skill level brings out the team’s strengths as a unit.

“I think pitching depth is definitely a strength. It’s something we didn’t have last year. I think our bench depth is a strength as well. So far our offensive baseball is good, and we’ve been able to move runners around,” Joyner said.

Junior Josh Copeland has secured three wins for the cougars, with an ERA of 2.21 after 19 innings pitched.

The team also hopes to look back on previous mistakes and weaknesses in order to learn from them.

“Hopefully their experience from last year carries over to this year, and so far it has. We had a good first week, and we were 3-0,” Joyner said.

Getting to the playoffs is the major goal for the team this season.

Joyner said, “We want to improve on last year’s record I know we can, but you can’t advance in the playoffs unless you get to the playoffs.”