Baseball Coach, Team Ready to ‘Play Ball’

Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Although it may not feel like it, spring is rapidly approaching, which brings a multitude of spring sports, including track, softball, soccer, tennis, lacrosse, golf and America’s favorite pastime–baseball.

Mr. Jared Barker, the Academy’s head varsity baseball coach, is very excited for the beginning of the season.

“Our number one goal is to win the Division II State Title, followed by our second goal of winning the FRCC conference title,” Barker explains. “Winning our conference would give us a higher seed in the playoffs which would lead to home games in the playoffs.”

Last year the team was fortunate due to (then junior) John Zacharias’ crowning as Conference Player of the Year. He along with Reese Johnson, Chris Kapic and Ryan Green will serve as the captains for this year.

“Staying mentally focused is at the forefront of what we do,” Barker said in describing  the atmosphere of practice. “I want to get the most out of each and every player on the team and push them to set high goals for themselves. In turn, it all benefits the team.”

Barker is a strong believer in an all-for-one and one-for-all mentality. “We stimulate as much of the game as we can during practice so that it translates to games.”

Barker also dedicates time to build mental toughness and focus in his players.

“Our biggest challenge this year, besides the weather, will be not getting ahead of ourselves,” but the coach is confident in the team’s ability to improve. “On paper we are a very competitive team, but how we execute matters more than a record.”

Barker believes that each game is a clean slate for the players on both teams. “We need to stay committed to our style of play and great things will happen.”

Barker urges any student interested in the team to come out and watch a game. For students in elementary and middle school there is the option of a Future Tritons baseball team as well as a camp.

Tommy Jensen, a senior on the team, promises that the team members are not as intimidating as they may appear. “Everyone on the team has worked hard to get there. It’s not just natural talent that defines the team but the effort as well.”