Baseball team prepares for new season after loss of state players


Makayla Mais

Junior Hunter Bagley hits baseballs to teammates to practice fielding. Bagley is one of five experienced players to return to the team.

Makayla Mais, Editor-In-Chief

The baseball team started practice on February 29 to start a new season with a new coach. With the loss of 2015 graduates pitcher/outfielder Bailey Jelinek, shortstop Jeremy Eierman, outfielder Alex Letcher, first baseman Kyle Goodsell, and pitcher/outfielder Joey Cooner, head coach Jason Ollison joined assistant coach Derald Henderson to fill the holes left on the field.

 Even with 20 on the JV team, and 16 on the varsity team, juniors catcher Hunter Bagley, third baseman Corey Callahan, center fielder Will Bunch and shortstop Cade Chiles are the only players to return from last year’s fourth-ranked state team. Despite the lack of experienced players, Bagley and Callahan have stepped up to become leaders.

  “I expect to do well this year even with the loss of five starting seniors,” Bagley said. “ A lot of young kids are going to have to step up, but that’s okay because the juniors and the coaches can all help get these kids in shape so that we can have a great season.”

 “It’s hard losing some of the best players Warsaw has seen, but I think this is a good opportunity for the young kids to step up and help the team. I believe this year is gonna be challenging but we definitely have the talent to win games,” Callahan said. “I’m really excited for a new season, I hope we can fix our mistakes and show other schools that this young team is ready to play and win.”

  After holes were made on the field, Bagley, Callahan, Ollison and Henderson have focused on making improvements to make their way back to being a state team. The 2014-2015 baseball team finished their season at the Class 3 Final Four in St. Charles with a record of 22-4.

  “The team is working on improving every day. We take batting practice and each work on our positions as well as mental workouts reviewing plays and situations,” Bagley said.

  “Our team is finding our individual weaknesses and working one by one to improve. Once we get the kinks out we will become a better team,” Callahan said.

  “We have been working hard in the cage and in the field, as hitters, there is a solid foundation of fundamentals and the boys understand what to do at the plate.  We are working on our defensive fundamentals and pitching as we progress through the season,” Ollison said.

  “We have been working on fundamentals, and completing simple tasks appropriately and efficiently,” Henderson said.

  With very few players with significant varsity experience, Bagley, Callahan, Ollison, and Henderson have found difficulties that they will face, along with some difficult teams. The difficult teams they will face this season include Holden, California, Southern Boone, Blair Oaks, Hallsville, and the teams they will face during the Ozark Classic on April 1 and 2.

  “I think that the only difficulty that we will see this year is our pitching, we lost all of our starting pitchers from last year, but I think that our younger guys will step up and help the team,” Bagley said. “There are a few games that I am expecting to be a little rough this year, even though I know we won’t go down without a fight.”

  “I expect all the games to be tough but if we work hard as a team and keep our heads in the game, I believe we can put up a good fight,” Callahan said.

  “We will try to prepare for each of our opponents with the same intensity.  We cannot afford to look past anyone if we want to accomplish our goals,” Ollison said,

  “Difficulties will be watching players take on new roles and more responsibility. The players may struggle in the beginning but with the appropriate mental preparation and heart players will grow out of early season mistakes and grow into their new roles,” Henderson said.

  Both teams currently has a record of 1-2 with a win against Knob Noster and losses against Lebanon and Holden.. The team will continue to show off their improvements during their upcoming games against Buffalo, Cole Camp, El Dorado Springs, and Southern Boone.