Daniel Boone looking to grow and improve as a team

Most high school coaches hate the work “rebuilding’. Daniel Boone head baseball coach Jason McCord prefers the word “growth’ to describe this year’s team. The Blazers graduated a lot of talent last year, including almost all of the pitching staff. This will be a very young team with the simple goal of learning to play the game of baseball and learning to play as a team.

“As a team, we would classify this season as a season of growth,’ said McCord. “To us that means that we want to work hard as a team to grow in our abilities to play sound, disciplined, fundamental baseball. We also want to grow as a team to form a strong bond that will carry us through coming seasons.

“As a baseball community extending beyond just the players and coaches, we must really grow together, put differences aside, and truly work to support the players and this team. The potential is there for Daniel Boone to really become a power player in the league and district over the next three years.’

The Blazers lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, but losing pitchers Zach Heffner and Justin Herring will be the toughest to replace. Jordan Goodrich, a junior, will be one of those who will be called on to fill their shoes.

“Jordan has worked very hard and has truly learned how to get good hitters out,’ said McCord.

Junior Sean Bologa will also be counted on to pitch for the Blazers this year. He is one of the most versatile players on the team who will also spend a lot of time in the outfield. McCord likes what he sees in this younger player and believes he could surprise a few people in the league this year.

Another junior returner this season is Bryant Schwoyer who is back for his third season on the team. He is an excellent defensive player, whether it be at third or first base. He will also see some time on the mound this year.

Bryce Stout (catcher and outfielder) is another third year player on the team who will be counted on for his potent bat in the middle of the order.

“He’s coming off of a spring where he simply destroyed opposing pitching,’ said McCord. Bryce was truly deserving of league recognition last year and will carry that chip on his shoulder into this season where he looks to do even more damage.’

Brendan Rivoli earned All-Area honors last year as a freshman, as he surprised the league with his bat, as well as with the job he did behind the plate. McCord is anxious to see him back bigger and stronger for his sophomore season. He’s counting on an even better year from Rivoli.

Sophomore Joey Moyer was another sensational freshman last year with the potential to be a major contributor to this year’s team. He committed just four errors last year, splitting his time between second base and shortstop. He will spend most of his time at shortstop this year and will be a key offensive contributor as well.

Ty Esenwein, another sophomore, started the season on the bench last year, but quickly earned a spot in the starting line-up. McCord has seen a lot of improvement from Ty over the offseason and is expected to be a better all-around player.

Eric Schweitzer is one of the four seniors on the team, playing this third season on the team. He will fill one of the three outfield spots after all three of last year’s outfielders graduated. Schweitzer will give the Blazers some much needed experience and McCord is hoping he can contributed heavily at the plate.

Another senior is Jason Burns, who will pitch and play the outfield. He’s a natural athlete who plays soccer in the fall and hockey in the winter. McCord describe him as a “crafty relief pitcher, for the Blazers over the last two seasons.

Richard Sanches and Caleb Nelson are both juniors left-handed relief pitchers with high expectations.

Matt Byrd is a senior who will see time at first base and the mound.

“Matt will be one of the players who will be looked to, to fill the large shoes vacated by the graduation of Doug Schilling,’ said McCord. “Matt has worked hard and comes into this season determined to be a threat at the plate.’

Devon Garner is a sophomore outfielder will get his chance to show what he can do in the outfield and at the plate. He has worked hard to come back stronger and faster this year, and hopes to take full advantage of his opportunity.

It’s a relatively inexperienced team with a lot of questions yet to be answered, but McCord likes what he sees in his team.

“The strength of this team will be our desire to improve and to become relevant,’ said McCord. “This desire drives us to work longer and harder than most. We have already faced a great deal of adversity in the offseason with a great many things that delayed our start and wreaked havoc with our preseason. However; the players have done a great job of staying together and viewing each obstacle as something else to overcome. They realized that complaining about it won’t solve the problem, that instead hard work and team work will allow them to achieve their greater goal of being a competitive team this year.’

Nobody is expecting this team to contend for a division title this season. They are young and still developing as players, but you never know what a new season will bring. They may be inexperienced, but this team does have some talent that will keep them in most games.

“The key to a successful season this year will be our ability to accept our roles on the team,’ said McCord. We want to improve our skills daily, jell quickly, develop our pitching staff, become dangerous hitters and to have fun while we work to do improve daily.’

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