Baseball Looks to Take Next Step Towards Contention

Marah Alindogan

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Together as one––from the field to the dugout these three simple words form the motto driving the Whitman baseball team day in and day out. Coming off the best season in the school’s history since 1975, this year’s team looks to build on their recent success.

The team will rely on veteran leadership from their 12 senior players, the coaching staff and overall team camaraderie to help achieve their season goals. With a tough preseason practice and workout schedule, including two-a-days and early morning practices, the team is already starting to see their hard work pay off.

Photo by Halley McCormick

Photo by Halley McCormick

 

“It’s been a lot of hard work,” said senior pitcher Brett Lambert. “We are focusing on the fundamentals because that is what it takes to win games. The pitching staff has also changed their dynamics. It is a lot more drill-oriented while working on the mental aspects of the game. The infielders and outfielders have also been getting more reps in on defense.”

Players acknowledge this is a completely new team and season, but they are optimistic they can be as successful as last year’s team.

“I think the difference between this year and years past is the expectation to win. We’re ready to make a big splash in the Northwest Conference, and it’s exciting. Our goal is always to win conference and advance into the playoffs, but this year we believe we can do it,” said senior outfielder Jimmy Madden.

Senior pitcher Aaron Cohen agreed and pointed out the high levels of commitment among the players.

“The team dynamic this year is much better than in past years, because we have so many people graduating and [because this is] the last year of baseball for so many guys. It’s been shown with everyone putting in good work in the gym and getting their reps in to come into the season ready to go.”

Behind the 23-man roster is a young coaching staff led by second-year Head Coach Sean Kinney. The players admire their coach, and this relationship is essential to the team’s chemistry.

Photo by Halley McCormick

Photo by Halley McCormick

 

“I love Kinneyhe is an amazing guy. He has really turned the program around, as well as everyone’s feelings about baseball. He has made everyone love the game while bringing us together as a group,” said Lambert.

Cohen appreciates the knowledge that Kinney and the rest of the coaching staff bring to the team.

“Having Kinney as a coach has been great. It’s obvious he cares a lot about the guys on the team and everyone on the team respects him, which is crucial for having a successful year,” he said.

Continuing their success will not be an easy task for the Missionaries, and their challenging schedule includes trips to Arizona and Texas. Their biggest obstacle, however, is Linfield Collegea powerhouse in the Northwest Conference currently ranked first in the nation.

“We obviously want to win as many games as we possibly can, but we are really focused on taking down Linfield,” said Lambert.

The baseball team’s goals stem from a culture of optimism the program prides itself on. With the help of veteran leadership it seems like the Missionaries have everything under control.

“Our goals for this season are to improve upon last year. Our record sophomore year was 5-35, and last year it was 16-22. We are looking for a winning record, hopefully a conference championship and a bid to the national tournament. We all believe that if we play to our potential, there is a definite possibility to get there,” said Cohen.

Lambert also notes the importance of the senior class in unifying the team.

“The leadership is spread out. We have our captains, but everybody leads by example. There is not a big need of one person leading the team,” he said.

As the season begins and their fate is still unknown, the Whitman baseball team will stand by each other––together as one. 

“This is our year,” said Madden. 

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