Young Reds are ready to learn
Lansing Reds coach Michael Smith isn't going to concern himself with wins and losses this summer.
Instead, the coach of the Lansing "A" Class American Legion squad is focused fully on player development. After all, he said, that's the point of summer baseball. Especially when you have a roster full of young players going against opponents who are older and have much more experience.
"I was telling them out there not to worry about the losses," Smith said after the Reds dropped their season-opening doubleheader, 10-0 and 11-0, to the Leavenworth Knights on Monday night at Lansing High School. "I know some of the kids over there (in the Knights' dugout) are 18 and 19, and pretty much most of my kids are 16."
Smith said five or six of his players never have played high school baseball before. He said that by playing against older players, his young guys would learn to adjust to a higher level of baseball. That would get them ready for high school ball.
"Basically, my idea this summer is to get them ready for high school and get them some familiarity with each other," he said. "It's important to get them ready for high school and learn what to expect."
The Reds have two veteran players who bring a bit of high school experience to the roster. Pitcher and LHS junior-to-be Matt McMillin brings a quality arm to the mound. He also will pitch for the Lansing Cavalry, a AAA team, this summer.
Senior-to-be Logan Ryan brings a steady bat - he was two-for-three at the plate Monday - and some experience to the roster as well.
"I'm playing on this team to stay with the school," Ryan said, "but I'm also playing on a AAA team in Basehor. The goal is just to get better for high school."
McMillin and Ryan aren't the only Reds players splitting time between two teams. LHS sophomores-to-be Kyle Hutchison and Johnny Stratton also join McMillin on the Cavalry roster this summer. Smith expects them also to be key players for the Reds this summer.
The Reds (0-2) next play at doubleheader at 6 p.m. Friday against the Easton Outlaws at LHS.