Preseason Primer: Leggett offers insight on Washington baseball
Published 12:43 pm Friday, February 26, 2016
Last season was a rebuilding process for Washington. The Pam Pack started six sophomores and the young squad went on to win just five games. Four of those wins came against 2-A Eastern Plains Conference opponents. There were a handful of close losses that, had they gone the other way, could have landed the boys in the playoffs.
Fast forward a year and Washington has much more experience under its belt. Seniors Neill Jennings and Logan Winstead will lead the way. That group of sophomores from last season has grown into a nine-man contingent of juniors.
Throw in the newcomers from last year’s 9-3 junior varsity squad and this group has what it takes to make a splash.
Here’s what coach Kevin Leggett had to say ahead of Monday’s season opener at Rose.
On the experience of the junior class:
“A lot of them started their freshman year and their sophomore year and have played for two years now. This will be their third year now. We’re going to rely on them this year.
“I think team chemistry will be a big thing. A lot of them have played together their whole life. They all want to get better and they all want to do the right things.”
On the team’s strengths:
“I think we’re going to have a lot of arms this year. No one is really better than any other, but we’re going to have a lot of arms to throw out. Our defense should be very, very good. We actually have a little bit of depth year. There’s going to be some competition for some spots instead of just showing up and it’s yours.”
On how competition at positions has looked in the preseason:
“It’s been going pretty good. I hate that we didn’t get our scrimmage in this week. … In practice, things have been shaking out. I have a kind of idea how we’re going to start the season, but it all depends on who wins it during the games.”
On how the pitching rotation will look:
“(The pitching rotation) will probably start with our three juniors: (Tripp Barfield, Logan Little and Cody Godley). They’re going to be our main three. Then I’ve got sophomores, three sophomores, who can come up and put in some good innings. Fredrick Holscher, Chris Sulc and Tyler Harrell. They all did good on JV last year, winning the conference championship.”
On learning how to win:
“Some of our games last year, we let them slip away. We had a lot of close games last year. I think the JV guys winning those games, that’s the reason I kept them down last year. I wanted them to learn how to win and how to finish games. They did that last year. They came back from behind in games, they blew some teams out, a little bit of everything.
“I think it was nerves mostly. When you have a bunch of sophomores, nerves can get to them a little bit. This year I think we have a good mix of the older guys that have been there for a couple of years and a couple of those sophomores did get to play in the Easter tournament. I don’t think we’ll have that problem as much as last year. They know how to close.”