Following a difficult 2017 season the McClain Tigers baseball team is looking to bounce back in 2018.
The 2018 Tigers will have one senior as Kyle Wyatt returns behind the plate for McClain and head coach Rich Bunner will rely on his leadership throughout the season.
“Kyle is a great kid, he comes out for us and is a good leader and great speaker. All of my generals are my catchers, which is where I want all my information coming to all the kids. Kyle is out there barking out orders when the ball is hit and that is what I want. He is a great leader for us,” said Bunner.
The Tigers’ coach expects defense to be a big part of the team’s success this season.
“We have kids at positions on defense, especially in the infield that are really sound and really good. A lot of kids you don’t have to tell them over and over again. They get where they need to be without being told and that is big,” Bunner said.
On the offensive side of the ball McClain will have to rely on some younger kids to step up while also relying on the players that performed well offensively during the 2017 season.
“I have some young kids that we are expecting to bring some pop offensively in Sam Faulconer and Cody Pollock. But, up and down the lineup all my kids can hit well. John Salyers is really good as well he hit a couple homers for us last year. Up and down the lineup we a pretty solid, we have some speed at the top and a lot of kids make contact. That is what I am big on, put the ball in play and make them field it,” said the McClain coach.
Coach Bunner talked about the physical and mental preparation that he and his staff have tried to do with the team during the preseason.
“We have started out the season getting them in shape, not only physically but mentally. That is a big part of it when things go bad you want to be mentally stable and mentally fresh. Even when you are tired physically you want to be mentally fresh. That is the big thing I run them through conditioning every night and put them in situations where they have to think when they are tired. That is a very big deal,” said Bunner.
The Tigers’ coach shared his excitement for the upcoming season and invited the community to come out and watch the boys play.
“I think they should be excited about their baseball team and softball team. I think Eddy and I have good kids coming up, kids that want to be here. They work hard and I think the community would be happy with what we are producing,” Bunner said.
The Tigers open their season with a double header against the Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs on Saturday, March 24, at Lynchburg-Clay High School.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.