BLANCHARD — There were a few things that conspired against Montabella’s baseball team in the 2013 season.
First was the weather. Then the youth of the team.
Still, coach Matt Hynes liked what he saw from the team.
“I was very impressed by how my players handled this season,” Hynes said. “We had 20 canceled. There were times where we played six games in one week then before our district game we had 17 days off. Just how they handled going to practice and not playing was very impressive. We were in a bunch of close games this year.”
In fact, Hynes said not being able to swing some close games the Mustangs’ way was part of the reason they didn’t win more.
“A combination of that and just not playing more games,” he said. “A lot of our games that were canceled were games that were very winnable games. Just not being able to play and staying consistent. A bunch of my guys started getting hot and improving at the end of the season.”
Hynes noted the marked improvement of Chase Murray from 2012 to 2013.
“He (Murray) did have a decent season last year, but this year he hit .447 and he was a very good leadoff batter this season,” Hynes said. “He finally figured out the type of hitter he needs to be for us. I think he had six or seven infield hits not counting bunts. He hit .183 last season and he was all regional this year.”
Hynes mentioned a few other standout players.
“Nate Jankowsky did a great job hitting for us. He hit .316 for us,” he said. “What impressed me with Drew (Nemeth) was he broke his leg at the end of football season, so there was a chance he wouldn’t play this season. Fighting through the injury and the pain was impressive to me.”
Montabella loses just two players to graduation, and that is a good thing for next season, according to Hynes.
“We had two seniors so a lot of this season was exactly what I have next year, but one more year experience,” he said. “We go back to the season and they lost 20 games this season. But I like what I see. Our infield had an impressive season. We started three sophomores and a freshman on the field. I return most of my field and I have a bunch of good kids trying out for first base next year. Our outfield will also have a bunch of speed. So I look forward to next year with the kids I have.”
It’s just a matter of the players getting more time in on the diamond, Hynes said.
“They have the ability. They need to get more reps (repetitions) in,” he said. “Just getting more depth in our program. We’re pretty deep and we have the talent but I would like to get more depth. So it’s them getting reps.”