New philosophy changes baseball’s attitude and effort

Sydney Hopper, Senior Writer

On a sunny Saturday in early March, the Liberty baseball team met for their annual inter-squad match. But there was one major difference from previous years: the baseball program, which used to have anywhere from 40 to 50 members, had shrunk to half that size.

But despite historically low numbers, the baseball team is looking forward to a season of renewal after a disappointing last season riddled with injuries and with academic probation issues.

Players say that a change in the coaches’ attitudes will help academic suspension problems.

“Last year the coaches would kind of get mad at you if you had to talk to a teacher about grades,” sophomore Duncan Olson said. “But this year they’re a lot more understanding. You bring a note to them saying you were with this teacher for this long, and they’re proud of you. They emphasized a lot this year that you’re a student before you’re an athlete.”

Besides a new emphasis on academics, senior Michael Heath believes that there is a greater sense of positivity on the team.

“There’s kind of a buzz. Everybody’s just more excited to be playing baseball, and is ready to start the season,” Heath said. “I think that with that excitement and the determination that everybody has this year, it’s going to be a good year.”

JV Coach Cameron Talley, who is new to the Liberty baseball program as a coach, but not as a player, believes that leaders such as Heath, and senior Eddie Delgado, as well as younger players such as juniors Sam Harrington and Tyler Haselman, will help the young team develop.

“It’s interesting because you kind of get leaders in one of two ways,” Talley said. “Sometimes you get a leader by example, and other times you get more of a verbal one. What I like about our team is that we have leaders that are willing to lead by example and do the hard stuff first and have the younger guys learn by watching them and learn how to do the right things. I think that’s really valuable for our program right now.”

Talley, who enters his fourth year of coaching after a three-year stint at McMinnville High (near Linfield College in Oregon), wishes for the team to get back to the “Liberty Baseball tradition” of winning some games, and feels this team will be able to do so.

“That’s what a lot of baseball is. You get one man doing something really well, and it’ll motivate the rest of the team to get their act together and start playing well,” Olson said. “That’s our motto this year: attitude and effort.”