The Summit baseball team had high expectations last season and will probably feel it fell short of them after being bounced in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
Jaguars coach Chris Peacock will admit that last season he expected big things – largely given the deep and talented senior class he had. But with graduation, those guys have left a cavernous void in the Summit roster.
In fact, only two guys with significant varsity experience will be back next year; starting pitcher Alex Palmer and center fielder Scott Sorensen.
“Those are kind of our two guys that are returning and after that it’s a whole bunch of new guys that we’re going to kind of have to mold and figure out where everybody fits,” Peacock said.
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Palmer, the Jags’ No. 2 pitcher last season, will likely assume the role of the team’s ace in 2015 and look to improve on his ERA, which was around 1.80.
“He was our No. 2 and played second base when he wasn’t pitching. So we’re going to rely heavily on him and expect even a little bit more from him next year,” Peacock said.
Sorensen wasn’t a regular starter in the outfield, but logged significant innings there over the course of the season, and Peacock says the club will rely on him to produce.
Palmer and Sorensen are both also aware of the leadership void in the locker room, and are prepared to step into the role.
“After the seniors all left, coach worked us out pretty hard and told us it’s going to be hard next year because we don’t have but a few returning starters.” Sorensen said. “He’s expecting those who did play varsity last year to step up and perform and try to carry us through this coming season. We know it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re up for it.”
As such, Sorensen is using his summer to play select ball and work on things beyond hitting and fielding.
“I’m trying to improve my attitude toward the game and not get so frustrated when things don’t go my way, and show that I can control my emotions,” he added.
With so many new faces and so many positions still to be determined, most of the potential players are out this summer in select leagues trying to improve their games.
“A lot of them are out playing during the summer, logging a lot of innings on the mounds and getting a bunch of at-bats and hopefully getting ready for next season,” Peacock said. “We don’t run our own summer teams because so many are out playing select with their own teams. They’re playing so much that it would probably be counterproductive anyway.”
The downside, though, is that it means the Jags are spread out over the summer and not playing together. Still, many have played together some over the years and both Sorensen and Palmer feel like the chemistry will come once they all hit the diamond together.
“I think it’ll come pretty quick because most of the kids on our JV, we’ve all played together and stuff,” Palmer said. “Most of everybody knows everyone. I think it will be pretty easy to start playing with each other again.”
“We’ll be good on the bench and in the locker room and as teammates,” Sorensen added. “But on the field, I think it may take a little time because we are all playing together for the first time in a while. We’ll figure it out, though, I have faith.”