Baseball team expects depth, pitching to be among strengths
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The varsity baseball program from Grayling High School recently completed its first two weeks of official practice sessions, and the varsity squad is looking to rely on its experience, depth, and pitching in order to have a successful 2018 campaign once games start in April.
“Our numbers across the program are outstanding,” Coach Bret Krabill said. “We are keeping more players than we traditionally would, but with large senior and freshman classes, we want to make sure that numbers are strong beyond this year as well. We have 13 guys who have played in or started a varsity game. Depth will be a strength. We should be able to have competition at almost every position. Hopefully this brings out the best in guys.”
Coach Krabill said some of the players were able to work on throwing, pitching, and hitting during off-season work-outs at the high school, including some sessions with new junior varsity coach Nate Maury, the athletic director at Grayling High School.
“We have been throwing for a while now. Having Coach Maury at the (high school) has allowed us to get to the younger athletes more quickly and get them hitting and throwing as well,” Coach Krabill said.
Coach Krabill said the squad’s experience level has helped out during early practice sessions. The team has worked on hitting, pitching, fielding, and game situations.
“The first week has been going well. We have a lot of returning players, so we are able to walk through several concepts without wasting time. When we can do that, it allows us to implement more advanced techniques,” Coach Krabill said.
The program is focusing on getting its pitching in good shape and improving swings.
“Practice in the beginning is about getting particular muscle groups conditioned to handle the workload of an entire season. Right now, we have a lot of pitchers, so I am able to bring them along at a safe pace. We are also trying to change the mentality from simple contact to pitch selection and great contact,” Coach Krabill said.
Strengths of the group right now?
“Depth. We have a ton of pitching this year. Eight guys have pitched at the varsity level and several have performed well. We should also be a little bit quicker this year,” Coach Krabill said.
What does Coach Krabill expect from his players this season?
“I expect them to compete daily. I also expect them to make mistakes; that is baseball. This game really tests your mental capabilities. You are going to get out more often than not, and still be considered good. I want to see how we respond to adversity. That’s life, and the game of baseball teaches it the best,” Coach Krabill said.
His goal for the year?
“My goal for this team is to reach their potential and to be a mentally tough team. If they do that, all the accolades will follow,” Coach Krabill said.
The Lake Michigan Conference is usually a tough league for baseball with several good teams. This year?
“Our conference is stacked. I would put us up against most conferences in the state. St. Francis is ranked number two and lost in the state finals. Boyne (City) is well coached and disciplined. Kalkaska can always hit and Harbor (Springs) is very well rounded. There is not an easy game in conference. We finished sixth last year, and were a pretty decent team,” Coach Krabill said.
The first scheduled doubleheader for the varsity baseball team is Thursday, April 5, at Kingsley. The squad’s second series of the season is slated for Monday, April 9, vs. Gaylord St. Mary.