“We have statistically improved in every offensive, defensive and pitching stat from last season,” said head coach Chuck Walker.
Last season the Jaguars won one game, but ended almost every other game in the fifth inning or earlier. This season the team only ended five games in the fifth inning or sooner – which is allowed under GHSA rules if a game is no longer competitive. Walker said the change was due in part to his players now having more experience as last year the team was “playing with mostly ninth- and 10th-graders” who had no varsity baseball experience.
“It’s hard to start a program from the ground up. You have to go through some growing pains. The program is still very young and we have much to improve on, but we have played much better this season,” Walker said.
While the team has gained some experience over these two seasons, Walker said there are still some things that are needed to get some wins in the books – self confidence and a more intense work ethic.
“We have been close in a couple of games that we just couldn’t finish. We don’t have the confidence to overcome adversity. We are so afraid of making mistakes…that we make a mistake,” Walker said.
Walker also said the Jaguars have to become more fundamentally sound. On the offensive end, Walker said his team is currently lacking the power to hit into gaps or cause defensive mistakes, but they have been able to put the ball in play. Defensively Walker said the boys need to increase their arm strength.
According to Walker, New Manchester has seen its best pitching this year from sophomore Tyler Smith and their best player offensively has been Randall Quarles. Walker also said his four seniors, Devante Frost, Anthony Kempson, Sam Wiggins and Brandon Worthington, have been a big help as well.
With one game left, the Jaguars finish up another season, but Walker said he sees a bright future for this program.
“The future looks good. We return nine players, five starters, four of which will have two years of varsity experience,” he said.