Strong leadership leads baseball to early success

Sylvie Cao, Sports Editor

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Liberty boys baseball has renewed their drive to get to state after their extremely strong start with a 5-2 record. Last year, with an 11-8 record, the boys only made it to the quarterfinals. But this year, with a talented roster and strong senior leadership, the boys want to bring home a State championship, which hasn’t happened since 2003.
The season started off with less than ideal weather with rain, snow, and wind. These poor conditions made it difficult for the team to maximize their practice time.
“For the first couple weeks, we had to shovel snow off the field and we weren’t able to get as much practice as we wanted to,” senior Jake Wright said.
Wright has also faced another obstacle this year. Last year, he played as their starting outfielder; he was unfortunately injured this year in the fall during football season, and he realized he would be unable to throw a baseball.
“I tore my labrum and partially tore my rotator cuff. It’s hard not being able to play my senior year with the guys I grew up playing with, but I’m still trying to contribute as much as possible,” Wright said.
Wright’s commitment to the team despite his injury exemplifies the culture of the rest of the team: hard work and dedication. Because of their collective efforts, they’ve been able to start off strong with a 5-2 record.
The boys won 4-1 against Hazen this year. It is the fourth year in a row that Liberty’s baseball team has won against Hazen, and is a victory the team is very proud of.
“This year’s team has the best offensive production that I’ve seen in the past four years at Liberty. We’ve been scoring a lot of runs—a lot more than normal,” senior captain Seth Ryberg said.
“In the past, hitting is something we struggled a lot with. Our lineup this year has been able to put a lot of runs on the board, and if we keep it up, we’ll be a team to beat,” Wright said.
Out of the six games they’ve played, they’ve scored ten or more runs in three of their games. Last year, in the first six games they held a 4-2 record with only one game where the team scored over ten runs.
Last year, when the boys played Auburn Mountainview, they won by a very narrow margin with a score of 9-8. This year, the team won 14-0, showcasing the improvement in the team’s hitting lineup.
Another strength of this year’s team is that they’re so experienced. With so many seniors, the team dynamic is natural because many of the boys have played together for many years, which has been a key factor in their wins.
“We have so much energy. We feed off each other whether we’re down or up, and we have such a talented starting lineup that produces every game. There’s a focus that us seniors have to play the best we can, and it’s kind of an unsaid goal that we want to get to state because its our last year,” Ryberg said.
In order to better get to know each other and connect with each other, the boys bond off the field as well. They often have team dinners where they can get to know each other better which improves the team chemistry when they’re on the field and has played an important role in their wins.
“One of the reasons why we’ve been successful is because we’ve been scoring really early in the game. It’s helped our pitchers relax and perform better to get off to a strong start,” Ryberg said.
With such a promising start to the season and their hopes to get to the state championship, the boys have set a short term goal: playing consistently.
“Baseball has its ups and downs so it’s going to be a challenge for us to just stay level-headed in order for us to continue to succeed,” senior captain Jacob Thoresen said. “But I think this team has a lot of potential if we continue to work as hard as we have been.”
“From what I can tell, this is the strongest team Liberty has had in the four years that I’ve been here. I think this year we definitely have the talent to go all the way to get the state championship,” Ryberg said.

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