By Chris Parker
Norwood baseball was a young team last year that finished with a 7-12 overall record. The Pirates are hoping experience gained last year pays off in more wins this year.
“The biggest lesson our team learned last year was to compete for one another. (That) fall (of 2018) we had a wakeup call only winning two games. In the spring we realized it isn’t a one man sport, but that we need to compete and rely on one another to have success,” Norwood head coach Drew Miller said.
Three seniors in Gavin Dunn, Clayton Sartor and Jacob Holloway will lead the team this year. The junior class on varsity will include: Jalen Drake, Josh Bradshaw, Zack Black and Zach Day. The varsity squad will have a strong group of underclassmen in sophomores Garrett Davault, Jacob Sinning and Dylan Calhoun along with freshmen Gavin McGraw and Stone Sawyers.
Drake is the team’s top returning hitter after posting a .379 batting average and .500 on-base percentage over 38 plate appearances. Black and Sinning tied for the team lead in RBI with 11. Sinning led the team in runs scored with 17. Davault was just behind him with 14 runs scored.
Dunn returns as Norwood’s top pitcher. He threw 30 innings last year racking up 54 strikeouts and compiling a 3.30 ERA.
Lessons learned last year should pay dividends this year.
“The biggest strength our team will have this year is experience. Yes, for most of my kids the experience is only one year, but that’s huge. The game happened really fast last year for my young guys. They realized that this is a different caliber than what they are used to playing. I feel that one year’s experience could very much benefit us,” Miller said.
Attention to detail will be a key for improvement.
“Our team will need to improve on the little things,” Miller said. “In my coaching staff’s eyes the little things are what wins ball games. We do not want our kids to take a pitch off, stay in the game good or bad.”
Norwood could be poised to make a run as the Pirates gain even more experience.
“I feel like our team could make a solid run this season. As long as we play together and try to get the little things right, I feel like we could have some success,” Miller said.
Norwood opens the season on Mar. 20 at home against Hurley.