Young team expected to have a good season


Photo by Katie Allen


Photo by Katie Allen
Photo by Katie Allen

Last spring, Bellevue West said goodbye to 13 seniors who graduated from the varsity baseball team. With the alumni gone, that leaves a young, new team for the spring season. West also welcomed a new coaching staff.

Transfers flocked to West, many for baseball, this school year.

“From what I’ve seen in our different sessions and meetings, we’ve got a few student-athletes that like myself are “new” to West,” head coach Jason Shockey said.

The young team started strength training in August, lifting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings before school for an hour. Players attend hitting practice once a week in three separate groups of four. The pitchers are practicing constantly as well as the catchers.

“They’re definitely more hands on,” junior Brendan Madsen said. “I think they know more than our previous coaches. Our pitching coach knows what he’s doing mechanics-wise and our hitting coach has been around for awhile.”

Shockey has held coaching positions at Iowa Western, Creighton University, and for the Waterloo Bucks.

This spring, the players are looking forward to a good season.

“I think we’re gonna win a lot of games,” senior Aaron Mason said. “We’re gonna be young, but we should still be pretty good because we have some good coaches.”

For the baseball program, the athletes commit a substantial amount of dedication to the sport.

“I know other coaches in our building can attest to this, it’s not an easy feat to be in the weight room at 6:00am,” Shockey said. “Getting out of bed, coming to school (sometimes when it’s cold), having someone “barking” at you to “get after it” when you are tired; it can be tough.”

Mason agrees.

“There’s a lot of hard workers in there. A lot of them wake up at five in the morning and come work out and it will pay off when the season comes.”

Duncan O’Boyle, a transfer from Skutt, states that the program at West is now more “baseball oriented”.

“It’s more stuff that colleges and other programs do, not so much high-school based. It prepares you better for next-level baseball,” O’Boyle said.

Although a lot of the players represented a different uniform before coming to West, the chemistry of the team isn’t affected.

“I would say overall our players are working well together,” Shockey said. “We’ve seen a lot growth from a team chemistry perspective with weights in the morning and the different “individual” sessions that we have done. I think teams that understand and enjoy the process are that much apt to have success as a cohesive unit.”

Some of the players knew each other from previous summer and fall leagues and club teams.

“There’s definitely a lot of transfers, but I’ve known most of them for awhile so it doesn’t really change much,” Madsen said.

Other returning players are still getting used to their new teammates.

“We aren’t that familiar with each other. We’re getting to know each other better,” junior Christian Dumont said.

Shockey is excited for what the players will bring to the season.

“If we are able to continue to focus on what we can control, remain consistent in our team and individual development and keep on learning our system and style, I think we will have a chance to have success and achieve a brand of ball that the Bellevue community will be excited about.”

Katie Allen
Sports Editor