HT baseball building up its memory bank
By Gary Lloyd
The metaphor is telling the story of Hewitt-Trussville baseball.
The team, under first-year head coach Jeff Mauldin, is putting money in the bank. The money is represented by gutty wins, the bank the minds of the players. A 10-6 season-opening win over perennial power Vestavia Hills saw Hewitt-Trussville give up six runs in the fifth inning, only to score five of its own in the fifth and six innings. The team deposited some fight into the memory bank. After losing 3-1 to Briarwood Christian last week, it turned around the next day and scored five runs in the fifth inning to defeat Briarwood Christian 6-3 in the Jay D. Kynerd Memorial Tournament championship. The team deposited more fight, some toughness and character, and the remembrance of a championship.
When the team needs fight, toughness and the recollection of winning later this season in area games or playoff matchups, it can go back to the bank.
“We’re going to be able to pull from that later in the season,” Mauldin said.
Junior left fielder Wilson Baumgartner hit over .300 in last week’s tournament, totaling two doubles, two triples and a run batted in. He was named tournament MVP. The tournament included Vestavia Hills, John Carroll and Briarwood Christian.
“Our goal was to go out and win it,” Mauldin said.
This team doesn’t have the future SEC power hitter, or the high school phenom who will be drafted into Major League Baseball. Hewitt-Trussville played 15 or 16 players in its wins over Vestavia Hills and Briarwood Christian. Ten or 11 players scored runs in the tournament, eight stole bases, three different pitchers won the three games and three players had pinch hits.
“Our goal is to maximize our roster,” Mauldin said.
Mauldin said the team is “really sound” defensively and will employ a “gritty, hard-nosed” offensive attack. Each game’s standout player will be different than the game before.
“We’re just going to find a way to get on base and make things happen once we get on base,” Mauldin said. “That’s the way we’re going to play.”
Mauldin said the new coaching staff’s offseason workout program — lots of weight training and conditioning — has helped the team. The first few weeks of school, the players had trouble walking up and down steps, Mauldin said.
It’s paying dividends early this season. The players are in better shape, lifting the heaviest amount of weights they ever have, running timed miles faster, carrying themselves with more confidence. Playing the games is easy compared to the offseason work, Mauldin said.
“It’s been really neat seeing them have confidence in who they are and what they represent,” he said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.