- Last Updated on Thursday, 13 May 2010 16:21
- Published on Thursday, 13 May 2010 16:21
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W&L baseball coach Michael Clark knew that starting five sophomores, especially in the ultra-competitive Northern Neck District, would involve some growing pains. He also knew that kicking off his season with AA schools and proven playoff teams might make for a difficulty early season. When his team was 1-8, prior to the start of the district season, if he was questioning his scheduling choices, he wasn’t doing so openly.
When senior Bubby Miles, a veteran who has made the switch from outfield to catcher this season, came to him, distressed at the team’s slow start, Clark counseled patience.
“I told him ‘We’ll get better. We’ll learn how to play together at this level, and we’ll be ready for the district season,’” Clark said.
Many of those early season losses were competitive games against proven teams, but it’s awfully hard to keep believing when victories are so rare.
“These players are young and relatively unproven, but they play so hard every practice and every game,” Clark said. “We have gutted out wins and we have bounced back from losses. What else can I ask from a bunch of high school kids?”
And the sophomores are growing up. Pitcher/short stop Dylan Clark is 3-0 in district play and left fielder D.A. Wilson went 4 for 4 against Essex. Second baseman Grady Boswell, first basemen and pitcher Josh Fones, and right fielder Jerome Saunders have all transcended their rookie status and find ways to contribute, game in and out. Every player says he is ready for the challenge of facing the top two teams in the district this week.
In a spring season in which Eagle victories and solid attendance at practice have been equally disparate though most of the teams in Montross, the varsity baseball team has been a recent inspiration.
Clark’s patience, insistence on team discipline and creative scheduling have apparently paid off.
The young Eagles have now swept Essex for the first time in recent memory, and they sit in third place in the district at 4-2, looking up at only Rappahannock and Lancaster with games looming against those two this week. “We believe we can compete with anybody and this is our chance,” Clark said. “The goal all season long has been to be successful. We’ve put ourselves in position to make virtually anything possible from this point on.”