BACK IN THE SWING: BASEBALL
WEBSTER CITY – Nobody on the Webster City baseball team really wants to remember the frustrations of last summer. Then again, they don’t want to forget either.
The disappointment that came from a 7-22 season and last-place finish in the North Central Conference will hopefully drive the Lynx as they begin the 2013 campaign today on the road against South Central Calhoun. And first-year head coach Troy Smock says his kids have done everything they can to get ready for the two-month grind.
“The biggest positive has been the work ethic of the kids because it’s been full on all the time,” Smock said. “The effort has been outstanding and that was the biggest thing we were hoping to get (during the preseason).”
WCHS returns a handful of diamond veterans and they are expected to lead the way for the squad, particularly early on.
“I think we’re as ready as we can be and those (players) that have played a lot in multiple sports, it’s their actions that have been outstanding so far,” Smock said. “So we’re ready to put it out there against another team and just see what happens.”
The Lynx don’t return any all-conference players, but the team’s top three run producers from last summer are back in uniform.
Junior Doug Stoakes hit .320 in 2012 and drove in a team-high 22 runs. Classmate Dylan Fielder sported a .356 average with 21 RBIs last season, and fellow junior Alex Oswald collected 19 RBIs.
Stoakes will be in right field tonight. Fielder will start at third and Oswald will anchor the outfield in center.
“We still have to work on our hitting … I think we’re going to need to score in bunches when we get on,” Smock said. “And I’m not at all opposed to playing some small ball as well.”
The Lynx will use a pitching-by-committee formula throughout the summer. Sophomore Daniel Halko – new to the school this year – will get the start tonight. Smock says Fielder, Stoakes, Ben Mossman and Cal Zahn will all see time on the bump as well.
“We have a lot of pitching, but it’s just not real tested at the varsity level,” Smock said. “I don’t know if we have any straight fireball pitchers, but we have guys that can throw strikes.”
Fielder, Mossman and Trey Tesdahl combined to throw 76 1/3 varsity innings and collect four of the team’s wins a season ago.
WCHS will make its home debut on Thursday against Carroll.