HNHS coach Chad Daugherty hasn't been able to shake the memory for nearly a year, and his returning players haven't either, giving them the fuel Daugherty says they need to attack a new baseball season.
"The sectional last year left a really bad taste in our mouths.That's kind of helped us this year and the kids are understanding more about mental mistakes, so we've been trying to put some more pressure on the kids in practice," says Daugherty, who begins his second season as head coach at HNHS and his eighth in the program.
"It's a new year and the kids are older and stronger, and I think they're ready for this challenge.They love to play.This group of seniors have done a nice job.So far, I couldn't have asked for a better effort."
says with the pitching and experience returning, the Vikes should be able to improve on that mark.
is excited about his pitching staff, headed by Sell and last year's leading pitcher, senior Andy Carnes.
probably got the best breaking ball on our staff," says Daugherty
has to learn how to compete and go out right away.He's
kind of a late-starter." Daugherty
says Sell will need to be the leader of the pitching staff.
probably one of our hardest throwers and has a good breaking ball, but he's
more of a position player first, and he's
a little bit rusty and isn't quite in rhythm yet coming over late from basketball," says Daugherty
says a year has made a big difference for Eppard.
While none of the pitchers have overpowering stuff, Daugherty
group will keep the Vikings in contention.
"We've got more depth on our pitching staff than we did last year," he
says."I think we can throw any of those guys out there and we'll be fine.They'll throw strikes, they'll change speeds.I think we can compete with anybody as long as those guys stay ahead in the count.We need to get ahead of hitters and learn how to put people away.We left too many outs out there.We were letting teams hit their pitch instead of making them hit our pitch."
Rich went hitless in seven varsity at-bats last season, but Daugherty
feels the junior is ready for the move to full-time varsity action.
star player to pick up his
offensive numbers this season after a slow start a year ago.
says that if Tarnowski can add an offensive component to his game, the Vikings will been in great shape.
"There's a lot of competition for positions, probably as much as there has been since I've been with the program," says Daugherty
."Defensively we're pretty solid.We can't really pencil in a lineup right now because we're still evaluating who's going to play some of those spots."
is looking for more offensive production from his
"One of our focuses is to put the ball in play," he
says."Last year we struck out 154 times, and that's way too many times.We want to make teams field it, throw it and catch it.Last year our pitching wasn't bad, but our timely hitting really let us down." Daugherty
has taken another step to better prepare his
team for late-season play.He's
added earlier games, starting with Friday's Batesville tournament.
"This will be a good measuring stick to see where we're at," he
says."I know it's early, but whether or not we win three games or lose three games, we're ahead of last year because last year we had 12 days off before we played our first game." Daugherty
also loaded the first half of the schedule to play more games in April than in May.
"In May, I think you need some more practice time so you can get geared up for your sectional.When you're playing every day, you don't get a chance to work on some of those little things," he
There is a possibility of seeing at least five Division I-recruited pitchers during the season, which Daugherty
says will get the Vikings ready for sectional play, which will start June 2 at Homestead.
"Our schedule is very strong and prepares us for the tournament," he
says."But from the same standpoint, we don't want to get beat down so much where we're not very good.But I think this team can compete with any team on our schedule."
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