Baseball team chemistry strong


by Kinsey Bak

Time to spit sunflower seeds again.

Baseball season has begun with new talent aboard for Simpson as the 2012 season unfolds.

The Storm is fairly young this year, which makes it exciting for head coach Ben Blake. With a lot to look forward to, Simpson has been out on the baseball field, football field, Cowles Fieldhouse and The Yard working on batting, fielding and pitching to get ready for the season.

“It is the start of spring and better weather,” Blake said. “We have a great group of guys, and we get a chance to play baseball, it’s hard not to be excited.”

Seniors Colton Calvert and Chris Dorff are also very excited for the season to begin. Both have agreed that team chemistry is at an all-time high since they began playing for Simpson.

“I think we have a great group of guys,” Calvert said. “We all get along very well. Having a good group of guys is the first step in having a good team. I feel like our chemistry is really good which will help a lot when only having a small amount of seniors.”

The seniors on the 2012 roster are: Dorff, Calvert, Grant Thomas, Kyle Ruehle and Brian Birks.

“The seniors have done a good job so far, and we will need them to lead the way on the field for us to be successful,” Blake said.

Dorff is optimistic about this season and is also happy to see the chemistry boost up.

“I’m looking forward to the season,” Dorff said. “This is the most team chemistry we have had since I’ve been here, and everyone is actually playing for the team instead of themselves.”

Despite it being a young team, Blake is pleased with the group of guys given to him.

“We are fairly young and very talented all across the board,” Blake said. “Most of all the guys are good kids, work hard and make it easy to come to practice every day.”

Blake has been getting his team ready, even with the dramatic weather changes this winter. With the surprisingly warm weather, the players have been going outside. Recently, they have been stuck in Cowles, trying to do as much work as possible.

“We are taking a ton of swings, trying to get live swings against our pitchers,” Blake said. “Before it snowed, we were taking a lot of ground balls and fly balls, but now that we are inside we break it up and try and go through defensive situations.”

Since they have been preparing in the fall, mostly hitting in January, and then moving onto fieldwork recently, the Storm is eager to put everything together to get a W for their first competition.

“We use these games to see what talent we have with all of our guys, and who hasn’t had a lot of playing time in the past,” Dorff said.

Calvert wants the team to be as ready as possible for their first game.

“I want to see our team focused and ready to get after it, which I know won’t be a problem,” Calvert said. “That’s one thing with this team is that they don’t shy away from hard work. We have put a lot of time in to get better. We just have to play the game one pitch at a time.”

Goals have been set for the 2012 season to be reached by the time the season comes to an end. According to Blake, the team mostly discusses playing up to its ability and development. The team foresees 20 plus wins, a finish in the top third of the league and making it to the conference tournament.

Dorff said the team should set even higher goals.

“I think we should expect to win a national championship,” Dorff said. “If we expect anything less, we are just setting ourselves up to fail. There is a reason great teams win every year, they expect to, and anything less is unacceptable. Two years ago we beat the eventual number one team in the nation by nine; that just says we can beat anybody.”

Calvert wants the first couple of games to be efficient, and is also looking toward the future.

“For the first couple of games, I want to see us getting into the swing of things,” Calvert said. “It’s not all about where we start but where we finish.”

Blake has high hopes and is eager to see how the season unfolds.

“We have a ton of talent, so it will be fun to see how they progress through the year,” Blake said.

The Storm’s first game will be on the road in Clarksville, Ark. at the Ozark Baseball Classic on Feb. 17 at 1:30 p.m..