Swingin’ Away

Reserve team achieves best freshman record in school history

Camryn Mottl, Features Editor

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On the mound, the pitcher looks at the catcher, who numbers his fingers by his inner thigh. A short nod left and right comes from the pitcher, communicating nonverbally that it’s not the throw he’s thinking of. Finally, the signal is made, with a confirming yes of the head. He winds up, and sends the hard white ball hurling towards his target, the catcher’s mitt. He’s rewarded with the umpire’s loud “strike!” and prepares for the next opponent who dare steps up to the plate.
The MN Freshman Baseball team has a record of 13-1, which is the best score in the history of MN freshman baseball. The team is complied with 17 boys, all whom are coming into the ninth grade.
“They’ve just had good teammates. We’ve won our first 10 games, and even though we are undefeated, you just really look at how well they’ve gotten along, how they’ve bought into the chemistry of their specific roles. That’s probably what I’m the most happy about,” MN Reserve baseball coach Connor O’Neill said.
They met their first challenge during pre-season, when they spent most of their time getting ready for the upcoming games in the gym.
“I think it hurt us a little bit, because we weren’t in the field playing games. Instead of getting used to the surface of the field, we had to stay indoors. Inside is different, because you’re not hitting with any wind, and outside’s a lot more difficult,” infielder Jaxon Grass said.
Still, O’Neill made sure throughout the season that the team knew what their roles in the game were, which he feels is one of their strengths.
“The biggest strength would be cohesiveness and the chemistry. They constantly support each other, they have each other’s backs, and accept their roles, which is hard to do. It’s hard to get everyone on the same page,” O’Neill said.
Even the players, whether on the field or up to bat, feel as though they have learned what it truly means to be a team player.
“We all just know our jobs. We know we’re not going to go up to the plate and hit a homerun every time. We know that if we need to sacrifice bunt, to move over some of the others, then that’s what we need to do to win the game,” first baseman Isaiah McCreery said.
With their winning streak, the baseball team did have a challenge with Lincoln Southeast, but pulled through to win the game 5-4.
“That game was one of our toughest. We were forced to amp up our focus and playmaking ability to win. We fought till the end to win,” Johnson said.
With five more games left in the season, along with the tournament to end it all, the team can’t help but appreciate the group they’ve been put in with.
“This is probably one of my favorite teams that I’ve ever played with, just because everybody’s a contributor on the team, nobody takes away,” McCreery said.
Up to bat, the player watches the pitcher. Though he can’t see the pitch that may come next, he shifts the position of his hands on the wooden stick. He watches the pitcher wind up, and gets ready for his target, the hurling solid white ball. A crack fills the air, and the only thing the batter can do next, is run.

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Swingin’ Away