The Fairfield Lions baseball team comes into the 2016 season a whole year removed from graduating 9 seniors after the 2014 season. Last year, the Lions were a young baseball team that had only one player with varsity experience under his belt. This year, after graduating no one from the team, a majority of the team has varsity experience.
“Last year, coming into my first year here, we didn’t have any seniors on the team,” said Lions Head Coach Tony Haley. “I did have guys that were eager to learn and played some good summer ball. I think this year, our seniors have always played and will need to step up and lead our freshmen. We’ll probably end up starting three freshmen and a sophomore, so the seniors will have to step up and show some leadership with the young guys.”
Even though, as with most team in the area, the Lions haven’t had much of a chance to work outside on their field, they will be doing so this year on a field that was redone in the offseason.
“We redid our field in the fall so that’s been nice,” said Haley. “Of course it took some to get it ready and we haven’t been outside much but we have been getting a lot of work done inside in the gym and thank goodness here at Fairfield we have a huge parking lot that we take a lot of ground and fly balls. Our pitchers are getting a lot of work in the gym. Here in the last week or so, we’ve been able to get outside to where we can fight the wind and the sun.”
So far this preseason, the Lions have had two scrimmages against Greenfield and Williamsburg. Coach Haley has seen some good things but a lot of things needing to be worked on before the season gets in full swing.
“We scrimmaged Greenfield last week and it went pretty well being our first time outdoors. It was pretty fun and we saw some really good things. We scrimmaged Williamsburg Monday night and I seen some good things that we hope to build on and once the Southern Hills League starts here next week, we’ll be ready to go.
“I don’t care what you say, all th way from little league to the big leagues, you have to have pitching. I feel like we have a really really good pitching coach and we just preach that you have to throw strikes. I think if we can get our pitching and defense to come around together, we should be competitive.
“I think we finished right in the middle of the pack in the league last year. Lynchburg has always been a powerhouse and Chris Veidt is a good coach over at Whiteoak. It’s a competitive league and we’ll have our work cut out for us. It should be an interesting season”
The Lions will kick off their regular season this Saturday, March 26 when they travel to Blanchester for a double header starting at 11 a.m.
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.