Last year, the Indians boys baseball team made the jump to the varsity level for the first time in five years.
The fact that the opposing teams had faster pitching, more powerful hitting and more experience proved to be a lot to handle, with Shelter Island going 2-18 in the 2013 season. Although nobody likes to lose at any level, some of the team’s players looked at the glass as half-full, happy to have had the opportunity to play varsity baseball and, most importantly, improve their game.
With the team now at the junior varsity level because of the ages of most of the players, returning Coach Peter Miedema said that “the pace of the game” will change. He hopes his team’s batting average will also change for the better because pitchers won’t have multiple pitches that varsity hurlers have in their arsenals.
With approximately 13 to 15 ballplayers to work with, Coach Miedema noted that “it’s nice to have depth,” and this helps him “be more flexible with people.” He believes the team’s weaknesses include “experience, knowledge, and the size of the field for the younger kids,” since some of the seventh-graders on the team are making the transition from the Little League field to the larger high school field.
Coach Miedema said with every confidence that “pitching will be a strength” for the Indians. Now, with only sixteen games on the schedule, pitchers’ arms will get more rest, and so will the team as a whole. Miedema hopes the squad will have better weather than last year, since several of the games last season were played in temperatures hovering around the mid-30s. He thinks the most important part of a team is “working together to improve everyone,” and the most important attribute of a player is “putting team first.”
In order to have success this season, Coach Miedema states that it will be vital for the “veterans to be leaders and make clutch plays.” His goals for the season are “the team improving, working hard, and enjoying the beauty of the Great American Pastime.”