Baseball squads readying for spring

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By Chris Cannon



The Campbell County diamond men are readying for their 2013 campaign with a new coach at the helm.

On one of the coldest days of the winter thus far, the pitchers and catchers were hard at work.

“I think it’s been great,” head coach Ryan Browning said of his return to baseball. “Brian (Miracle) and Justin (Clear) have really worked them hard. I got to come up a couple times in the early fall before basketball started, and they were working hard. They’ve run stadiums and stadiums, sit-ups and worked out. They’ve put a lot of time into it, and I think it’ll pay off. They’ve worked them hard.”

Already, the players are getting excited, as the season begins on March 11.

To some, they’ve been waiting nearly all year to return to the hill.

“I’m beyond excited,” senior catcher Bo Farris said. “I’ve played all this summer, but we’ve been hitting the weights hard. We’re just excited to get out there and compete and win.”

Pitcher Andrew Evans felt much the same way.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this since the season ended last year. I’ve been playing travel ball getting ready for it, and we’ll be really good this year.”

However, for Browning, this season has been a little different.

During his first stint as head baseball coach, Browning was only an assistant for the women’s basketball team.

“You could think ahead a little bit,” Browning said. “Right now, everything is kind of geared to thinking basketball. It’s a little bit more difficult, because you don’t have your mind idle enough to think ahead on some things.”

His players are thinking ahead though.

The Cougars travel to Clinton on March 11, before the Dragons come to Campbell County on March 12.

Not only is that a District 3-AAA game, it’s also a chance to play their former coach, Brad Collette.

Already, the trash talk has stared, according to Farris.

“I think him leaving us for Clinton has given us a little bit of motivation,” Evans said. “We’ll come out with a little anger in both games, and I think we’ll win both games. We’ll fight to the end.”

However, all Campbell County can do now is work with the pitchers and catchers.

According to Browning and Farris, that time is especially crucial.

“On several things, it’s big,” Browning said. “We’re just getting the arm in shape. There’s a relationship there.”

For Farris, that relationship is important.

Knowing the pitches and abilities of each pitcher is important in knowing how to catch for them.

“It’s very crucial. If I have Hunter, he throws the fastest on our team, and then I have someone that doesn’t throw as hard but has good breaking stuff, I have to know where they’re going to hit.”

Pitchers and catchers aren’t the only thing this team is excited about.

Miracle will take over the middle school program in hopes of bringing some stability to the program.

“The biggest thing is that they’ve already worked together,” Miracle said. “The good thing with me being varsity assistant, is that I’m doing the same program with the middle schoolers as the varsity.”

With the middle school having three different coaches in as many years, Miracle is looking to change that.

According to Browning, he’s the man for the job.

“Brian’s seen a lot of baseball,” Browning said. “He saw a lot in high school, and he’s seen a lot in college. He’s always had a learning eye to it. He’s going to take those experiences and really help these kids. If he can get them into the rhythm that we’re used to up here, there’s just an extension of this program.”

With 80 percent of baseball being mental and 20 percent physical, Miracle said the stability of the program is important.

Not only will the stability help, but it’s a chance for the younger players to be prepared for the high school level.

“There’s a lot of components that people don’t realize go into baseball,” Miracle said. “It’s important to realize those things in middle school before they get to the high school program.

“Just the fact that knowing next year who you’re coach is going to be is big. If we can put some stability in the program, they’re going to know who to expect. The mental aspect is that they know who’s going to be there, and that’s important.”

For Browning, however, the most important thing is to get this season going.

“People always wondered how I did it before, but when you get out of the gym and the weather starts warming up – it’s the green grass and the blue skies,” he said. “There’s just something about baseball outdoors and seeing these guys compete.”