The Big Walnut baseball team is keeping things simple this season.
If the Golden Eagles want to complete like they did last year — a solid 23-6 season which included a Division I district title and trip to the regionals — coach Jack Schone said they only have to do three things.
“Bottom line, there are three things we have to do better than all the other teams … just three,” he said. “We must be able to throw the ball better, field the ball better and hit the ball better than our opponents. Pretty simple.
“If we can do those three things better, then it gives us the opportunity to win games.”
Big Walnut certainly has the experience to get the job done. The team is led by its 12 seniors. Of the 12, eight saw significant time last season.
Austin Becker, a Vanderbilt commit, headlines the crew. He will be the horse on the mound and contribute at the plate as the designated hitter. Noah Sprowls will handle most of the duties at shortstop, Colton Lee and Austin Krinn will provide leadership at second base, Jake Foster returns to third, Connor Gerren will return to anchor the outfield in center and Cale Sherbourne and Zach Rines also return to the outfield.
Other seniors include Jackson Seiple, JJ McLean, Dylan Seward and Evan Ferriman, all outfielders.
Schone said a group of eight juniors will also push for starting time this season. Sam Medley, for example, will look to fill the void left by Nick Green and Parker Imertreijs behind the plate. Both were all-league and all-district catchers. Jakob Daniels, Ryne Conley and Peyton Woodard will add depth in the outfield while Nathan Lawyer, CJ Rockwell, Wes Coey and Carson Becker will look to make noise on the mound and around the infield.
“We are really excited to have a strong core back from last year,” Schone said. “The seniors will provide the required leadership needed to challenge for a conference championship.”
Big Walnut has the horses to build on last season’s success, but no one player will be able to get the Golden Eagles over the top.
“As with every year, an ability to play as a team and not individuals must be a priority,” Schone said. “We will win games and lose games by committee. Being able to understand roles, accept them and play for the team will be a key.”
Schone said no one will be rooting harder for his Golden Eagles than the Eagles themselves.
“There is a word that really defines our opportunity as a team: mudita,” Schone said. “It means to be able to find a pure joy in someone else’s success. When we can be happy of the joys others feel, it is at this time that we have accomplished everything we set out to do in 2018.
“This doesn’t mean or guarantee we will win every game, however we have surely won in life and as teammates.”