Experience will be key for baseball team heading into districts

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John Flanegin

Randi-sports (6)Experience is a factor of success on the baseball diamond, and has helped the Bruins baseball team continue to be the kings of District 9. More than 90 percent of players on the Bruins’ varsity roster are upperclassmen, and have tasted success in the district tournament, having taken home the championship since 2009 every year except 2011.
The second seeded Bruins will begin the first round of the tournament May 16th against seventh seed Camdenton on Rock Bridge field. Much of the team believes experience will play a key role in winning it all.
“It helps the whole team out knowing you have players that have been in this position before,” said junior pitcher Adam Lafferty. “It’s nice knowing we are going into the tournament with such great leaders.”
The Bruins (16-12) coached by Justin Towe are ranked 40th in the Class 5 state rankings by maxpreps.com, and have been playing some of the best teams in the State the past couple weeks including district rival and powerhouse Jefferson City.
The team has attained vast contributions from juniors Joe Barbee and Chandler Wyatt. Barbee, who is currently injured with a foot injury, is a speedster who plays right field. Barbee amassed 20 stolen bases for a school record in 2013, and the Bruins hope he can make a swift recovery before the tournament in order to make catchers and pitchers alike wary of his speed.
Wyatt, a pitcher, proved to be a valuable asset in 2013 posting an 8-2 record as a sophomore. Wyatt possesses a good commanding changeup and curveball and often confuses batters with these off-speed pitches.
The Bruins are comfortable and feel no pressure to repeat as champions. “I don’t know if there’s any added pressure,” Towe said, ‘I think it’s more the fear of losing since winning is almost an expectation now.”
The Bruins will take on six teams in the district tournament, including Helias and Jefferson City and fellow columbia schools Battle and Hickman. “Every team is tough in the district, but Jeff City has been really good and earned the one seed.” Towe said, ‘They will be a hard team to beat.”
If they win their sixth straight district title, the Bruins will take on the District 10 champ on May 27 in the Class 5 state tournament.