Indian baseball builds skills with first game in 10 days

Back attcha-- Senior pitcher Earl Neufeld returns fire to his throwing partner as he warms up at the beginning of practice on Feb. 10.

The Indian baseball team will head into the season with new head Coach Vince Lavallee. 

  “I am entering my 28th year as a teacher and coach,” Lavallee said. “Before I came to Seminole last year, I was the head baseball coach at Jim Ned High School for 21 years from 1997 to 2018.”

  The baseball team has seven returning starters from last year’s area-qualifying team. The Indian hope to improve on a 4-3 district season last year as Coach Keegan Reynolds took a job outside education.

  “Having a new coach is definitely going to be a new experience,” senior pitcher Earl Neufeld said. “I had Coach Reynolds for three years, but I think this will be good for the team.”

  The Indians have more seniors than in the past couple of years. 

  “We have a strong defense and we have deep pockets with pitchers,” senior Dylan Stokes said. “We have a lot of leadership because we have a lot of seniors leading the teams along with the underclassmen who are stepping up to the plate and becoming leaders themselves.”

  Lavallee said the team basic skills in practice.

  “We need to continue to build on fundamentals,” Lavallee said. “Making routine plays is a must; we also need to develop a more aggressive mindset offensively at the plate.” 

  The Indians are building a deeper connection as a team.

  “The team’s strength is probably our bond,” senior pitcher Derek Ruiz said. “I think our bond is so strong because we have been playing with each other since we were little.”

  A new coach opens up new possibilities in Ruiz’s mind.

  “I think it is going to be a lot different with a new coach,” Ruiz said. “I believe with Lavallee, we will have more opportunities.”

  The Indians will play their first preseason game at Shallowater on Feb. 24 against.