Baseball team slides into districts

Daphne Yu

Keeping an eye on the ball: The Bruins baseball team competed against Christian Brothers College High School JV team (9-2) and Varsity (16-6) last Wednesday. Junior David Plain readies his stance for a pitch. The Bruins JV team won 7-1. Photo by Patrick Smith

The baseball team has positioned itself at the top going into the district tournament playoffs yet again. The Bruins, 17–6 as of May , will play only two games, holding the top seed. They are exempt from the first round, similar to top seed NFL teams in the playoffs.

They will play either Hickman or Troy Buchanan May 14 at 4 p.m.

RBHS baseball has already defeated Hickman this year 1-0 with one extra inning.

Only losing five games going into this year’s district tournament and carrying a strong winning record, it’s likely RBHS can win the district playoffs, junior second basemen Mike Nemec said.

Nemec said the batting and runs may be their weak link, but believes the team has the ability and drive to overtake their opponents. Nemec has made 27 outs and is a definite part of the team’s defense that could lead them to winning games.

“I’d like to think that individually we have the raw talent to beat any team, but if one pitcher from the other team does well, your team can get shut down,” Nemec said. “Baseball is the sport that one player’s performance can determine the outcome of the game. But from what I can see so far, I believe that we will make it to the top and win the district playoff.”

Last year the Bruins shut out Troy Buchanan in the first-round of districts and thought one team was an easy win, then lost to the Timberland Wolves by one and were not able to move on to sectionals.

“Last year we beat everyone only to lose in the end,” senior first baseman Blake Darkow said. “But this year we have had a lot of games that we have won by one point. We feel that we are more experienced in clutch situations to get that victory. Any loss that we experienced this year all helped to make us stronger for the rest of the games.”

Seniors Ryan Phillips and Beau Burkett carry the offensive load, with the most runs on the team, 22 and 17, respectively. With batting averages of .355 for Phillips and .406 for Burkett, their combined power hitting results in an offensive dual that will be hard for any other team to beat, especially when it is combined with the strength of the team’s defense.

Coach Justin Towe has faith that his defense will hold up and that he can count on his offense for those few crucial runs needed to win.

“Game after game, they come through with big hits, and a strong defense that is very consistent, always allowing few runs, which makes the offense’s job easier,” Towe said.

Sophomore Kyle Teter agrees the Phillips and Burkett dual will provide the win, stating without them the runs wouldn’t come in consistently.

The team won two district titles in 2009 and 2010 and are hoping to win again this year with possible revenge on Timberland.

“In spite of losing many seniors this year, that will not matter because of the record we have shown this year,” Teter said. “If we play as a team and keep playing like we have all year, then we have nothing to worry about in districts.”

By Joe Szucs