Bobcats anxious to open new era
After almost a month of practice the Basehor-Linwood baseball team is ready to play some real games.
The coach, Dave Svoboda, can see it in his players eyes, can hear it when they tell him what they've heard about their first opponent, DeSoto. And Svoboda can feel the excitement himself.
"It'll be fun to get out there and answer some questions," Svoboda said. "I know the kids are anxious."
The Bobcats face the Wildcats today at home at 4 p.m., and though it's the season opener, it might have a sort of exhibition feel to it.
The teams are just playing one JV and one varsity game, instead of the usual doubleheader, and Basehor will be without lefthander Billy Hashman, slated to be the team's ace pitcher. Hashman is also on the golf team and has a tournament at the same time.
Svoboda said the first pitching duty of the season would likely fall to sophomore Brett Miles. Aside from throwing strikes, Miles will also have the difficult duty of holding DeSoto runners, as Svoboda expects the Wildcats to play a "small ball" style similar to Basehor this year.
Svoboda said it would help to have an experienced catcher in Kyle Speichinger, who can recognize possible base-stealing and hit and run situations. He said Speichinger was one of the players who first clued him in to DeSoto's "small ball" game plan for manufacturing runs.
"He was one who came to me and said they were going to try and run," Svoboda said. "He's obviously done his homework, and he's excited about the challenge."
Even so, Svoboda said Speichinger wouldn't be able to hold up the Wildcats on his own, that he'd need plenty of help from Miles and the infielders.
"Pitchers and infielders have to help out by holding runners," Svoboda said. "If you can make the occasional pick-off or even just shorten a guy's lead, that all helps Kyle out."
Speichinger and his back-up, Alex Smith, will be organizing an infield that Svoboda said would probably be made up of Adam Smith at first, Mike Armstrong at second, Lucas Williamson at short and Josh Ishmael at third. In the outfield only Tyler Dowdall, the centerfielder, is set. Svoboda said left and right field would be manned by some combination of Seth Lashbrook, Peter Brown, Garrett Chumley and Zach Lowe. But Svoboda said he was intrigued by the possibility of moving the speedy Miles and Armstrong into the outfield with Dowdall.
"If we put Miles, Dowdall and Armstrong in the outfield we could have the quickest outfield in the league," Svoboda said. "There's not much that would drop with those three out there."
For now, though, Svoboda will go into today's game with a bit of a short line-up and see where his team is after a month of practice.