Wildcat Baseball ends summer after improving defense, pitching
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008
by RYAN ARENA
When East St. John-based Wildcat Baseball saw its final home game rained out against Jesuit last week, it represented the end of play for the team until prep season in 2009.
The Wildcats did not play a Legion schedule this year, so there will be no postseason. That said, the team still made strides over the 11 games it played in June, finishing with a record of 7-4.
During the prep season, East St. John won only two district games, after entering District 6-5A play with a winning record.
Coach Ryan Sims knew what had to improve.
“In our district, you must pitch and play defense if you want any chance to win,” he said.
This summer, Wildcat Baseball made strides in both departments, which bodes well for the coming season.
Pitchers Brighton Trepagnier and Lionel Weston had strong summer performances, preparing themselves for a season in which Sims says they’ll be leaned on heavily.
“They’re going to be juniors, and we need these guys to take control of the staff,” Sims says. “We’re only going to go as far as our pitching takes us. There’s a lot of responsibility going on these guys, but they’re working hard. They can handle it.”
That pitching staff becomes even more important as the team loses some key bats, including its offensive leader, Corwin Brown, who graduated this past school year. The team played without Brown this summer, and looked to others to emerge.
One who has stepped up this summer, Sims says, is junior centerfielder Reynaldo Young, a three-year starter in prep ball. The coach expects it to continue.
“It’s funny, I told him the other day that, ‘This is your team now,’” Sims said. “It’s time to become the player that he can be.
“I expect big things. He’s going to be a stud.”
But perhaps most importantly this summer for Sims and his team was to see defensive improvement – key mistakes in that department cost the team in 2008, and the summer was about renewed focus.
“I think they understand now what I meant about defensive intensity,” Sims said. “We had to make a concerted effort to improve there.”