The Basehor-Linwood baseball team began their year on Tuesday at Topeka Hayden with a 5-1 victory to open their first season in 5A.
The win was the first step in the team’s goal of going 1-0 in each game.
“Every year we keep our goal to be 1-0 each game,” head coach Andrew See said. “We believe that if we buy into that mindset then the bigger goals will follow such as conference championship, regional championship and the end all, be all of a state champion.”
See said it was good to get on the dirt and play a full game. He said he thought the team would be a little more nervous, but he thought the team played with composure.
"We had to make some roster moves due to school-related issues," See said. "But we started two freshmen in the first varsity game and they came out with some confidence I believe. (Jackson) Herbel and Carter (Bergman) were thrown into the fire, but they have played a lot of baseball so far in their lives. I think once they got to take a deep breath they fit right in and were key pieces in this victory. Herbel made some great plays at shortstop, which is a position that we are looking at needing to fill from the departure of Tuckker Johnson last year. Carter had a huge two out, two RBI single to put us up 3-1. He had a chance in the at-bat before to do some damage, but didn't come through. I could tell he was eager for another shot and he made the most of it."
He also mentioned Chase Torkelson's groove pitching once the first game nerves settled. See said the junior threw 50 innings last year and has gotten stronger.
"I believe the boys know they didn't play their top game," See said "But there were some glimpses of what we are capable of doing. Hopefully the more games we get in, the more live action we see will help us keep projecting towards playing our best by the end."
Senior Colby Kimberlin led the team with two runs. Matt McKnight, Wyatt Wagner and Herbel also scored.
See also pointed out that the second game of the scheduled doubleheader was delayed to Friday due to weather and light.
Along with the weather impacting the first game, the Hayden win came after the weather impacted the early practices, but See said it comes with the territory.
“We definitely were handcuffed by the weather,” See said. “It comes with the territory. We know we aren't the only school dealing with this, but we have done a good job of trying to make the most of every practice.”
See said spring break helped the team with the baseball team being able to use the different facilities available.
The Bobcats return a lot of contributors after only two graduated from last year’s team. The team will have four seniors that See said are key to continue their progression in their third year of varsity baseball.
See was asked to name key contributors. The coach said the entire team will be contributors.
“As a team and in regards to our culture, we believe that everyone will be key contributors,” See said. “We tell our boys that anyone at any time could be in a crucial situation for us and we like to prepare our boys for that opportunity.”
He said defense and pitching will be strengths of the Bobcats this season. The Bobcats return the entire outfield and all but one in the infield and the pitching will be what gives the Bobcats the most success.
“If our pitchers can continue to improve like they did last year, then that will be another big positive for us,” See said.
This season will bring new change for the Bobcats with Basehor-Linwood joining the United Kansas Conference and the school changing classification to 5A. See said the competition will be harder. The way seeding in regionals evolves will be key for the Bobcats this season.
See said he still gets nervous for each game regardless of what game it is.
“Playing baseball for many years and now coaching it for my third year at Basehor-Linwood, I still get nervous and excited for every game,” See said. “I’ve coached in regionals and at state, but every game is its own championship game and we are looking forward to all of them.”