by Hayley Younginer, Madison Metts, Robin Hendricks

With each and every cling of the bat, smack of the mit and round of the bases, players fight for a spot on the baseball team. Baseball tryouts have begun.

Every year baseball tryouts are held to form the team. With each year brings new players and fears in hopes to make the team.

“The toughest part is trying to impress the coaches and get over your nerves,” sophomore Robert Kirley said.  “Your performance is based on how much you practice and how dedicated you are to the game.  No matter how good you are, it is always hard to be your best when you are nervous.”

Since Dutch Fork Baseball is changing the way they’ve done things over the past few years with a new coach, players are noticing a difference in the way tryouts were held.

“With our new coach, Coach Waites, tryouts were a little more organized and more of a

showcase style tryout,” senior Adam Elsey said.

With the coach’s eyes on the players at every second and the uncertainty of making the team in the air, tryouts tend to be a stressful process.

“[The toughest part is] trying to perform at the best of your ability,” sophomore Parker Shepherd said.  “Showing the coach what you can do for the team.”

About 16-18 players make the junior varsity team while about 20 players make the varsity team.  Although players may have been on the teams in previous years, every player is required to tryout for each new season.

“You do have to try out again,” Parker said.  “Probably because things can change over the course of the year for any player.”

Even for returners, tryouts still bring their own concerns.

“I would say the unknown,” senior JoJo Markle said. “Whether you’re going to get cut or not.”

Once the players are chosen, one thing stands out amongst the others in preparation for a successful season: practice, practice, and more practice.

“It’s a new season and many of the players haven’t played on the same team in a while so we will need to rebuild our team chemistry,” Robert said.  “Every player has to be on the same page and we all have to be speaking the same baseball language.  The more we practice, the more we will bond.  Other than that, we just need to refine our skills with constant repetition and practice.”

By learning each others weaknesses and strengths, the team hopes to reach a common goal.

“The goal for any team is to make it to the playoffs, then eventually win the state championship,” Parker said.

The seniors feel as if it is their duty to lead the team and get to playoffs, then the state championship.

“My personal goals are to hit above .300, and hit at least two home runs,” Adam said.  “I think we just need to focus and play our hardest, and get a little momentum going.”

Even with a few setbacks, Robert hopes this season will turn out to be a home run.

“Last season was great.  We won a majority of our games, but we lost to Lexington multiple times.  This year will be different, though,” sophomore Robert Kirtley said. “We have a few injured players that will affect the team largely and one of our top pitchers is out with a back injury. Nevertheless, I believe that we will be one of the top teams this year.”