With a new baseball season comes a clean slate and new hope for the Okeene Whippets. Last season was a tough one and not having a home field to play on made things a little tougher. But first-year head coach Austin Booth says his squad will have their home field back again and he is looking forward to seeing some progress in his team.
“Last season we were without a home field to play on due to renovations,” Booth said. “There has been a lot of excitement going into this season. Our facilities have been updated and we have 18 signed up to play compared to last year’s 10. We will be very young, having nine freshmen on the team, many of whom will see the field with a strong core of hardworking upper-classmen. With this being my first season as head coach, I am excited to get started and I think that my players are as well.”
With a younger team, there will be some learning and growing going on during the season, but Booth says that he looks forward to watching his team progress and improve.
“Our main challenges for this season will be our youth but it will also be our greatest benefit as well,” he stated. “Also, we will have growing pains in our pitching. We are playing more games than this school is used to playing so many players have been asked to step up on the mound.”
There are some upperclassmen that the team will look to for leadership, both on and off the field. Reiley Luckie is a three-year starter who plays catcher.. He is an incredibly dedicated, hard-working young man who always does everything 100%. He is a powerful hitter and is a great role model for younger kids. Another will be Kyle Lewis, who can play just about anywhere on the field he is needed. A junior, he has put in a lot of work in the offseason to improve his hitting as well as gain more confidence on the mound. What he lacks in speed he makes up with power.
Bryer Roberts is also a junior and will be a middle infielder and brings the most experienced pitcher on the team. Bryer is a speedster who will be looked towards as a potential leadoff hitter.
A couple of other guys that will look to be impactful this season are William Barnes and Carson Osterhaut. Barnes is a hard-working athlete. He sprints everywhere he goes, he is always the first one to pick up equipment to the point where he is exempt from picking up equipment because he always wants to help out. He is not the best athlete in the world but he makes up for it with his attitude and hardworking demeanor. Osterhaut is a four-sport athlete for the Whippets. He is a great asset to the Okeene baseball program, and he is someone who has shown what kind of work ethic the program wants to have.