Baseball team eager to rebuild this season
For John Lee, first-year Tonganoxie High School baseball coach, getting to know his team is his first priority this spring.
The baseball team began practicing Feb. 26.
"The first thing is to evaluate the personnel we have," he said. "We need to figure each other out."
But Lee, also the school's athletics director, is already fairly well-acquainted with his team's 36 members. He said that the team's biggest obstacle in the early season would be the weather.
With snow on the ground in March, it's hard to get much accomplished outside.
What baseball players need is warm spring weather.
"We've got to be able to get outside," he said. "There are some things you just can't work on inside."
And as Lee tries to build on last season's 9-13 team, which made it to the regional finals before falling to state power Bishop Ward, his first concern is finding out who will play where.
"As a first-year coach, the first thing is to figure out what position everybody will play," he said. "Our biggest obstacle is not knowing who will pitch."
Lee said there were several players who had seen some time at pitcher last season.
Ryan Lowe, Mark Walters, Matt Alexander, Brad Reischman and Pat Weyer all saw time on the mound last year.
But Lee, who said he never looked at a single statistic from last season, said that just because a player saw time at a position last year, he wouldn't be guaranteed that position on his team.
"I like to judge them on their talent not on their history," he said.
Lee said that practices, which have focused primarily on conditioning and fundamentals, have gone well for the team.
"The kids are ambitious. They work hard," he said. "Things will go a whole lot better as soon as we can get outside."
The team's first game is scheduled for 4 p.m. April 2 at home against Jefferson West.