Baseball Team Fights for District Playoffs

May 16, 2021

Sophomore Joey Smith pitches in a 2-1 victory over Biglerville. Photograph by KC O’Neill

The Warrior baseball team is hoping to continue their six-game winning streak (9-5) as they head towards the playoffs. 

The team is on a roll in a season that has had many challenges and has been far from normal. 

This season has been different for the players compared to previous years. They have had to play through a pandemic which caused the school to shut down for five days in the middle of the season. 

It is not easy for young players to play in altered situations. 

Head Coach Joel Stoneberg shared his thoughts on playing during a pandemic.

We have just had to become flexible,” said Stoneberg.  “Our schedule has been affected several times due to school closures. We haven’t been able to plan for opponents in a typical fashion.

The players have tried to focus on enjoying this season as much as possible as well.  Many had their previous seasons canceled due to the pandemic.

Junior pitcher Logan Houser stated how appreciative he was to play this season. 

“It was really hard to lose a season,” said Houser. ”It is great to meet the younger guys this year though. I’m just glad we could play. I try to remind everyone that we did not play last year and just to be happy we are here.” 

The Warriors had a slow start to the season, winning just three out of their first eight games. However, the team is young and may have been putting too much pressure on themselves. Coach Stoneberg and the other coaches,“put a lot of emphasis on getting these guys to relax and have fun.”

After the early struggles (starting just 3-5), the team eventually  started clicking. Recently, the Warriors defeated rival Kennardl-Dale at their field 4-1. 

Luke Geiple, sophomore middle infielder, came up big for the Warriors, hitting a home run over the fence late in the game.  “It was great (to hit a homerun in a crucial game)…,” said Geiple.

This was just the start for the Warriors turn around in their season, keeping the momentum through a six game win streak.

   “The biggest thing has been our focus lately,” said Houser. “We have a sense of urgency after a couple disappointing losses early. We have been playing a lot cleaner with less mistakes.”

 Stoneberg sees multiple reasons for the team having tough losses early on.

“Missing an entire baseball season due to COVID, we started rusty,” said Stoneberg. “We only have 2 seniors in our program. We are young. The boys were also putting too much pressure on themselves.It’s translated into a six game winning streak that looking at our schedule is likely to grow.”

Another reason for the team’s recent success has been their chemistry. The players have developed friendships beyond the baseball diamond.

“[We] are all friends,” said Geiple. “[We] all get together sometimes.”

Houser, who has pitched in several close games for the team, could not feel more confident in his team.

   “I know they have my back,” said Houser. “We’re all trying to compete as hard as we can to win. I’m not nervous when they get the ball,” said Houser. 

The Warriors prepare to take the field after a half inning of batting. Photograph by  KC O’Neill

Despite the recent success though, the team is not satisfied with their efforts. Over the course of the past two years, the team has been faced with much adversity and is looking to rise above it with an opportunity to play in the District tournament. 

Junior Scott Denis gets ready to swing at the Warrior’s home opener. Photograph by KC O’Neill

County playoffs were cancelled for all York County teams this season; however, the YAIAA District playoffs will happen this season, and the Warriors are determined to qualify. 

“[Qualifying for Districts} is our biggest goal right now,” said Houser. “We are confident and know if we keep winning we will be in there.”

Stoneberg added that qualifying for District Playoffs would be a form of, “Validation. The core of these guys put in crazy amounts of off season hours hitting the weight room and local baseball fields. In season, they are still in the gym after practice.”

The team encourages all fans and students to come support them as they continue their quest towards a playoff spot. 

 

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