Although the baseball team started unsteady, they were able to make a full recovery and end the season with a 21-19 winning record.
Last year was the team’s final year with Coach Greg Bradley who was the Boxer’s coach for 19 years. As new Head Coach Brian Billings took the reins of the team, he not only started his coaching career strong, but he made an impression on the players.
“From the start of the year Coach Bills [Billings] always brought a positive attitude and laid out his beliefs for the year,” said senior Tyler Kotchik. “Even when the season started off rough he stuck to his guns, stayed positive and supporting us and we finished the season out very strong.”
The team started the season with a 2-12 record and were able to pull themselves to winning 18 of their last 25 games.
One aspect of Billings’ coaching style that Kotchik and junior Tanner Mansell said they benefitted from was working individually with Billings.
“He broke down every player’s’ mechanics and made us all better physically as well,” said Mansell. “I could not be more pleased to have played for him.”
The players were not just required to prepare for the games physically, but also mentally.
“We read books on life and success,” said Mansell. “We took pride in everything we did and results don’t lie.”
While Billings pushed the team on and off the field he also provided a support system for the players to feel confident in their abilities.
“For me personally I always knew he was confident in me and this is a big part of baseball,” said Kotchik. “It made me more confident in myself knowing the coaches also believed in me.”
One of the struggles at the beginning of the season was inconsistency and the inability to find a good rhythm.
“At the start of the year we couldn’t figure out how to win,” said Kotchik. “As we won some games we gained a lot of confidence as a team and started battling no matter the situation we were in.”
Another improvement that the baseball program was able to implement was the junior varsity team. That team allows for a larger group of players to be able to have playing time and coaching time to be able to prepare for the varsity team.
“Getting [the JV players] innings and helping them along the way instead of forcing young players to watch most of their freshmen seasons will be very beneficial going forward,” said Katchik. “I can’t wait to see where coach billings takes this program within the next few years.”
Already looking forward to next season Mansell and Kotchik expressed their gratitude in being able to play for the new coach and their excitement in seeing where Billings will take the team next.
“We couldn’t thank him more,” said Billings. “This was a good turnaround season for the baseball team and he is the heart of that.”