Spartans baseball seeks to propel a winning season

Hank Hisky (12) is perfecting his throws in preparation for the season. For him, this year will be the last chance to win a district title with White Station.

After a long, hard-fought season, getting back at it was the only thing left on the Spartan baseball players’ minds. After suffering devastating defeats in the 2021 District Tournament, the team began to implement new procedures that they hope will solidify their chances of victory in the 2022 season. 

Although their quest for victory started last year, many of the athletes had their first encounter with a baseball when they were much younger. What started as a game of catch in the front yard moved on to batting off with fellow toddlers and eventually joining a full-fledged baseball team.  

“When I was 3 or 4 [years old], my dad would throw me a ball, and by the time I was 6, he said, ‘let’s get him on his first baseball team,’” Coleman Stephens (12) said.

Similar to many other sports teams, baseball is not only a game but a community. Many of the players have known each other long before high school and maintained relationships because of baseball. Individually, the team members have invested a lot of time, energy and grit into the sport, and in return, they learned many lessons, gained structure in their lives and experienced many memorable moments. Aside from this, it has also given them many opportunities that only a few get to enjoy, like having a crowd cheering for their success at each game.

“My favorite thing would be the pure competition of it; I like going out there and doing what I [have] got to do,” Collin Brindley (12) said.

Ben Turner (11) fully extends to catch a ball during practice. This skill will be vital when he attempts to catch balls and gets the opposing team’s batter out.

These athletes have trained and conditioned consistently to get to where they are, and many still strive to go further. For some veterans, this will be their last chance to win a title. For others, it will be a chance to prove themselves. 

“[We have got to] keep a good attitude, keep on playing till the end [and] we’re not going to stop … we just gotta keep going,” Brindley said.

Placing second at the district tournament last year was a brutal awakening for the players. Whitehaven High School swept the Spartans in a two-game match at White Station High School’s home field. However, the Spartan baseball team is determined not to settle for second again, and they are coming into the 2022 season with a whole new mindset.

“They beat us badly at home twice in a row in the district tournament [due to] lots of self-inflicted mistakes on our part,” Stephens said. “[I am most] looking forward to avenging our district title.”

The team is welcoming new assistant coach Daniel Massey, who grew up playing baseball and is glad he can incorporate it into his lifestyle once again. With a new perspective of the game, he calls: “the game behind the game,” he hopes to teach the athletes new skills and improve their chemistry to win the district title. He believes this is a unique, psychological way for the team to gain an unexpected edge on other teams.

The Spartan baseball team walks off the field but their practice continues as they go inside to work on different agility drills.

“It’s not just about pitching the ball and hitting the ball and all that kind of stuff,” Massey said. “There are all sorts of mind games and psychological tricks that happen in baseball that there is so much discipline involved and so many different scenarios that you have to be aware of. The skillset goes so much further than just being fast, being able to throw far and being able to hit the ball.”

With the addition of a new member to the coaching staff, the baseball team believes they have made enough changes to conquer the season head-on. The seniors are prepared to give it their all to avenge their team at the district title, and hopefully leave the team in good standing.

“We are already on a different mindset this year,” Stephens said.