The Vikings start the season 0-2 after falling to Haven High School in a two-game series, and Smoky Valley High School head coach Troy Miller is looking to get back to the basics.
It's not the start the Vikings wanted, but the team is still confident that they will be a winning team. According to four-year starter Ben Weldy, what's holding the Vikings back is accomplishing the basics.
"We're a much better team than we were last year. We learned about our capabilities, and what we are able to do in general. We had a little bit of trouble doing the simple things, but there's no doubt in my mind that we will be above .500 this year," Weldy said.
Weldy also mentioned that his teammates, loaded with returning seniors, always have positive vibes and always pick each other up.
"We're more supportive of each other, and we don't talk down to each other. When you’re playing baseball and you're down on yourself, it happens a little bit," Weldy said.
One of the key reasons for Smoky Valley's loss is that they gave up seven errors against Haven. Some of those errors came from dropping balls in the air. Miller wants his team to have a mindset of keeping it simple and avoiding minor errors. He also expects his team to keep on improving every time they step on the field.
"We just need to get better every day and compete. That's my goal, and I hope I expressed it to them," Miller said.
With Smoky Valley filled with seniors, one of their biggest strengths is their pitching game. Top seniors include Weldy, Brett Heitschmidt, Zion Thomas and Zach Able. At the same time, the majority of the players on the roster play multiple positions. Able was on the mound during game two when they lost to Haven 5-3. Despite a solid performance from the senior, he takes his first loss of the year as an example of what the Vikings need to work on.
"It's good to know where we were. I think there's better morale in the dugout. We had some errors that need to straighten up. I thought we threw strikeouts pretty well. The important thing is that we competed," Able said.
Able is one of the seniors who is fresh off basketball season. The transition from playing one sport to another can be challenging at first from both ends. But for the four-year starter, all he needs is few days and he's ready to go.
"Obviously it's a good problem to have. It's a little bit of an adjustment. It's not necessarily hard to get out here. It's like you pick up a bat and a baseball it's weird at first. You've been doing it long enough after a few days, it started to come back to you. Once you play that first game, you're pretty much back to where you are," Able said.
Smoky Valley will be at home to face Halstead High School in a two-game series at 3 p.m. on April 2.
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