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Whittell baseball preview

Michael Traum

The turning of seasons brings baseball back to Whittell High. And the Warriors are undergoing a rebirth of their own, with a new coach directing a squad of 20 guys – 10 of whom are freshmen.

“This is a good group of kids. But it’s going to take a while to get used to a new coach, new system and to each other,” said first-year coach Brian Geimer, the school’s 16th baseball coach in the past 17 years.

Geimer has a plan for directing his young Warriors. He knows that although the team might not win too many games, a foundational investment in patience and hard work can pay substantial dividends down the road.

“We need to teach the younger kids the meaning of the program – play for today, build for tomorrow,” Geimer said. “I plan on being here for more than just one year. We’re going to stabilize the program so it can develop.”

The new approach is not lost on the players. Phil Villeza, who along with Brian Houghton are the only seniors, said Geimer brings a much-needed philosophy.

“He’s a tough guy. He’s what this school needs,” Villeza said. “If (the young guys) stick with it, they’re going to be great. There’s tons of talent.”

As with any diamond team, pitching will be a major factor. The Warriors return no one that tossed more than a half-dozen frames last season. So, fans can expect that nearly every player can throw, will, with the fielders getting many opportunities.

“It’s going to be pitching by committee,” said Geimer, while watching sophomore Dusty Apocotos pop the glove in the gym on a makeshift bump. “(Dusty) hasn’t played ball in seven years. There’s something about him – everything comes naturally. But nobody’s going to pitch too much.”

Freshman catcher Booby Lee expects the pitching staff will continue to improve throughout the season.

“(We’ll) just throw it over the plate and let them hit it, to just get used to throwing strikes,” Lee said. “(Then we) can get used to the league, get comfortable and find out about the types of hitters at this level.”

Added Geimer, “It’s no secret our pitching will be a little suspect. We’re going to concentrate on defense, let the eight guys in the field do the work.”


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