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Baseball Seeing Growth Already

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By Ryan Butler

          The 2012 Chiefland Indians baseball team knew that overcoming the loss of seven seniors, and seven of the team’s best players, was not going to be easy. That left them this season with a team that, for the exception of one senior and a few juniors, looked on paper like a JV team. 

Recently, it hasn’t played anything like junor varisity. 

Their 14-0 mercy-rule beat down in Cross City on March 15 was the high water mark of the season’s first half. Not only did they knock around the hated Bears, they set a season high for runs. 

They game before that may have gone down in the record column as a loss, but  it was one of their best efforts in the season.  In a game even some of Chiefland most ardent supporters feared would be a slaugther, the Indians hung tight.at P.K. Yonge. Only three Blue Wave players got hits. If it wasn’t for an outstanding pitching performance for the P.K. Yonge pitching staff, the game could have very easily gone the other way. 

Much of Chiefland’s success recently has come from their own pitching staff. TimReidy, one of the team’s veterans, has started to prove himself as a reliable starter. Clayton Smith has also looked strong of late as well as Travis Wain, the team’s lone senior. Ideally, head coach Kyle Parnell would like to avoid the team-wide pitcher-by-commitee approach and develop players into certain roles. But good efforts by his young staff have made this ardeous task that much easier. 

Improved defensive play has also been a major boone for the Indians. The team has cutdown on bad mistakes on routine plays, greatly aiding the pitching staff. Sophomre Gray Gerhard has become the teams rock behind the plate as the team’s everyday catcher.  He has also become deadly throwing out opposing runners on the basepaths.

Gerhard’s propencity to get on base has also helped the Indians offensviley. Parnell has had to shuffle his lineup throughout the season in attempt to squeeze the most out of his players. But with Gerhard, talented junor slugger Cole Parks, speedy top-of-the-order infielder Kyle Weeks, power hitter John Ward along with Reddy and Smith, the team has the potential to get into a rythem offensivley. 

 The Indians are still stuck with a losing record and face a low seed come tournament time. But it they continue to improve, they may make thier District 1A-7 adversaries think they’re playing a team full of seniors.