To become proficient in anything, especially sports, repetition is what makes the difference in succeeding.
And although talent is always a plus, Colleyville Heritage senior Conner Kroutil knows the key is one thing – over and over again. Practice.
The second baseman is starting his fourth year on varsity and knows the secret is repetition.
“It just takes lots and lots of ground balls,” Kroutil said to become the solid middle infielder he expects to be.
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In addition to the varsity season, Kroutil has been playing select baseball for as long as he can remember. The schedule is basically year-round for Kroutil and provides the opportunity for as much repetition as he can manage.
Kroutil said they workout at least three times a week and other days, they’ll get in the cages in the off-season.
“I take ground balls every day of the week. Weather is not too much of an issue,” Kroutil said, noting indoor cages alleviate concerns about inclement weather.
It was last season, though, that wiped out about two tournaments’ worth of games due to rain. But it’s a new year and some things have already changed, including the opening season weather.
Kroutil had been playing at shortstop and moved this year to second base.
“I had been at shortstop since my freshman year and I made the move to second because it’s better for me and a better fit for the team,” Kroutil said.
Kroutil’s strength, he said, is his defense. His lateral movement is important in tracking down the ball, but he said the basics are the most important.
“You have to stay down to field the ball,” he said.
At the plate, Kroutil is a contact hitter and has seen time at lead-off or second in the order.
“I wouldn’t say speed is a strong suit. Just getting on base and seeing pitches is what I can do. I’ll just do my job whenever it’s needed,” he added.
Second base may be a better fit for Kroutil on the collegiate level, too, he said.
But before the issue of next year rolls around, the focus is on the season in front of Heritage.
Kroutil said the Panthers are looking to improve on last year’s campaign which yielded few district wins.
“Last year is not how we wanted it,” he said. “But it’s looking good this year.”
The Panthers started their season last week and opened with a 7-1 win over J.J. Pearce.
“We’ve done the same things for the most part,” Kroutil said of preparations for this season.
“Overall, the work ethic is different than last year. We’re more focused than we were last year. We’re wanting to go out on a high note as a senior,” he said.
As he reflects on his years at Heritage, Kroutil said the experience now vs. his freshman year is completely different.
The juniors and seniors have played together for several years, dating back to youth league experience.
Collectively, the Panthers are focused on winning the district, making the playoffs and leaving a mark on the program’s rise again.
“Personally, I’ll do everything I can to help the team accomplish that,” Kroutil said.