Young Baseball team hopes to grow with more experience

The boys baseball team gears up during practice on Wednesday, April 3, 2013. (Photo Credit: Lindsay Breslin)

Photo: Lindsay Breslin

The boys baseball team gears up during practice on Wednesday, April 3, 2013. (Photo Credit: Lindsay Breslin)

By Brad Steel, Staff Writer

Baseball – like spring – is something many people highly anticipate. Before the crack of the bat at the season opener, Varsity Baseball player Hunter Phibbs was ready to get under way.

“I’m excited to get out there this year,” said Phibbs, a senior. “The season can’t come soon enough.”

Unfortunately, the first couple of games showed that the young Firebird team isn’t where it wants to be yet. Fairmont lost to Vandalia Butler, 4-5, on April 1, 2013, then suffered a pounding by Miamisburg the following day, losing 0-18.

Coach Kent Drake and his team are looking to improve upon last year’s record of 8-16, but they have only 5 returning seniors. Besides Phibbs, the seniors are Cody Antonelli, Justin Bonzani, Rob Bowling and Coleton Hammond. “We’ve got a very young team this year, but they’re hard workers,” said Drake.

While the team has no captains, Drake is expecting leadership on all levels to ensure a successful season. Phibbs will take on some of these leadership responsibilities.

“Hard work pays off,” said Phibbs. “I’m glad to be a part of this team and share some of the responsibility in leading it.”

Both Coach Drake and Phibbs believe that the Firebirds will have a tough defense this year, and that it will be a big part in helping them win games.

“A major factor we have to overcome this year is [lack of] varsity playing experience,” said Drake.

Not only will the new players get experience, but the coaching staff will as well. Other than Drake and JV Head Coach Dave Anthony, the Firebirds’ baseball coaching staff is entirely new. Drake isn’t too concerned, however, and is eager to continue working with his team.

“We’ve been working on fundamentals a lot this off-season and are continuing to do so,” said Drake.

Phibbs has clear goals he wants to accomplish in his last year of high school baseball. “Personally, I want to be batting over .320 and have no more than two errors this year,” he said. “Teamwise, I think we’ll have no problem going over .500.”

Phibbs is also excited for a number of key games throughout the season. Despite their record last year, Fairmont was able to knock off No. 1 Moeller last year, and they will meet again this year. And like every other Firebird team, the boys are eager to face GWOC rival Centerville.