by Matt McGouran | Staff Writer
At the start of every season, teams have to replace key players at many positions along the field because members of previous year’s teams have graduated. This is not any different for Johnson because many starters from last year’s team are now gone. The team will have to lean on younger guys to cover for the departed players, but players have confidence that the younger starters will be able to handle the pressure.
“We have new guys at key positions on the team,” senior Tanner Wall said. “But they will do well because they’re level headed guys who won’t feel the pressure.”
The Jags finished last season with a record of 23-14-1 while going 7-5 in the district part of the schedule. The team fell to Eagle Pass in the regional semi-finals, losing the series two games to none after sweeping Churchill in the previous round.
“We have excelled recently because we have been consistently on the top,” senior Jerod Vick said. “And hopefully we will continue to be up there.”
The team is currently undefeated with five wins after sweeping the Northside tournament that took place between February 20 and 22. The jags were led by a high-powered offense that averaged 10 runs per game while only giving up 4 runs per game.
“Our team is a lot stronger than we were last season,” Vick said. “We have already matched our home run total from last season through five games.”
The team has been preparing for the season for a long time by doing exercises like lifting and running. But as the beginning of the season approached, they ramped up their training by doing more baseball related activities to help better prepare themselves for the upcoming season.
“During the offseason we just did lifting and running,” Wall said. “But as the start of the season came up we started doing more baseball related stuff like scrimmaging.”
Coming into the new season, the Jags have set new and consistent goals for themselves to help keep them motivated throughout the entire season. One of the main goals of the team this year is to improve on last years team and the way the season ended.
“We are very confident that we will do well in districts,” Vick said. “We have the talent to do very well and be more improved if we get our act together.”
At the end of last season, the team was able to recover from their slow start, and ended the season deep in the playoffs. But, it could have been different if the team was able to be as consistent as they were at the end of the season from the start.
“We exceeded expectations toward the end of the season but it was too late to recover at that point,” Wall said.
Next up for the team is a game against El Paso Soccoro to take on Kerrville Tivy on February 27. After starting the season by sweeping the Northside tournament, things are looking good for the Jags heading into the rest of the schedule.
“I think we are tremendously improved from last year,” Vick said. “We have a chance to win district if we can defeat Reagan and Churchill, who are the toughest teams.”