*ALL HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS GAMES HAVE BEEN CANCELED*
With a combination of a high number of freshmen athletes as well as a number of returning players, the Friday Harbor High School Wolverine baseball players are getting their bats ready to hit the 2020 season out of the park.
“Things look sunny and 70 for the Wolverine baseball program this year,” coach Steve Schramm said with a laugh.
There was originally some concern regarding the bullpen. Due to the fact that the team lost both of its number one and two pitchers after last year’s graduation, Schramm said, the coaches thought pitching might be the team’s weak spot.
“After our first bullpen session, we now believe we have a good group that will be ready to take the ball for us,” Schramm said.
There is a solid core of returning players, he continued, and one of the most dedicated groups of freshmen the team has had in a long time.
“We should be very competitive this year,” Schramm said.
Both Schramm and co-coach Rich Warin are looking forward to having fun with the athletes this season — coming up with big plays, performing in clutch situations and all-around working together as a team.
The combination of young players, Schramm explained, along with the number of veteran players means those up and coming stars will have mentors to look up to and who will be encouraging them as they hone their skills.
“We are looking forward to seeing what [these young players] can contribute to this year’s season, and down the road,” Schramm said.
Warin and Schramm’s primary theme this season will be developing and maintaining good work habits, including focus and working hard on baseball fundamentals, as well as how to handle tough situations during the games.
A challenge the team faces this year is the short time frame to work with the players, Schramm said, and the athletes’ other off-season commitments. Rain, cold temperatures and muddy fields also make baseball difficult during early spring, he continued. Another coaching challenge, according to Schramm, is competing in a 2B league sports team without a junior varsity. Having a junior varsity team would help encourage young athletes and allow them to hone their skills sooner, he said.
Last year, the Wolverines made it to the regional postseason playoffs, and it is a possibility this year’s team bats its way to state, the coaches said. After all, not only has the Warin and Schramm coaching duo brought the Wolverines to state countless times over the years, two of their former team members, Austin and Brandon Lambright, have continued on to play professionally. When asked what keeps bringing them back to coaching each season, Schramm and Warin explained how much fun they have.
“It’s fun for the coaches —working with the players, seeing them improve and have success,: Schramm said. “We like to think their success is our success. It’s fun being a part of a team that is playing up to its potential and beyond.”