Archive for Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bonner baseball season has coach hoping to build passion next year

June 10, 2010

The Bonner Springs Braves struggled at times to compete in baseball this season, but there is reason to be excited for the years to come.

First-year coach Barry Richards guided the Braves to a 6-12 record, which left him somewhat bewildered.

“We didn’t have enough passion,” Richards said. “We had some highs and some lows. We competed well at times, and at other times we just didn’t compete. I can’t put my finger on it.”

Richards thought his team did not play to its potential.

Losses against Mill Valley, Piper and Shawnee Heights stood out as games in which Richards believed the Braves could have fought harder, but he was quick to point out if BSHS wants to get better in it must start by beating solid teams.

“Our expectations are to compete with everybody we play, starting in our league,” Richards said. “The bottom line is that when you cross that white line you need to know you can win the game, and the other team needs to know you can beat them.”

At the beginning of the season, Richards said his goal was to build the program to twhere it would compete for the state title annually. Despite the tough 2010 campaign, that goal remains at the top of his list.

“If you pitch it and catch it well, you can compete with anybody at this level,” Richards said.

The Braves did both well at times, but they were unable to perform consistently enough to turn the corner. Pitchers battled control at times, and Richards wants to see his staff add more pitches to its repertoire in the future.

The key to developing a greater assortment of pitches, as well as improving all-around skills, is summer commitment. Richards said he expected his returning players to commit more time to preparation in the coming months.

The wheels also came off defensively far too often for Bonner.

“(Poor defense) just caused so many problems for our team,” Richards said. “We are going to make that a main focus next season to go along with pitching.”

During the summer the younger Braves will get experience in intrasquad games and doubleheaders on Wednesday nights run by Richards. Some players also will compete on traveling teams on the weekends. With more experience under his players’ belts and a solid returning nucleus, Richards hopes his second year at the helm will lead to more progress.

“I was a little disappointed in myself this season,” Richards said. “I wasn’t happy with the job I did at all. However, I learned a lot and should come back better prepared.”

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