Spring break may be going into effect next week for Indian River schools, but the varsity baseball team will get anything but a vacation as they start their season on Tuesday, March 25, hosting Nandua, and then travel to St. Mark’s on Thursday for the traditional match-up between the rivals at the start of every season.
Past scrimmages against Easton and Stephen Decatur ended in ties, 5-5 and 4-4, respectively, although head coach Howard Smack is staying optimistic even as the team falls into place.
“We were messing around, but we’ll be alright,” he said. “I’m still looking at the outfield, and I sort of have an idea of who will be out there for us, but it all depends on who’s going to be hitting well. It’s coming. It’s a work in progress.”
With no statistics to mind, Smack has been able to rotate the pitching squad on the mound.
Cory Showalter opened up the scrimmage on Tuesday, against Stephen Decatur, and pitching from Luis Barrientos and Trevor Abbott shortly followed.
“[Abbott’s] been around the longest,” said Smack. “We got him a few more innings in. He’s looking good out there.”
Lack of communication resulted in a minor collision between Indian River outfielders Sean Lewis and Tyree Oliver in the seventh inning. Though the two were able to walk off their crash, it was a reminder to Smack of the risks players sometimes face.
“It’s important that you stay talking,” he said. “We have got to make sure we’re loud. We’re out here for each other. Sometimes those accidents are career-ending ones. There are a few tings to work on, but we’re getting better, though.”
The lineup will be a few players shy of full strength for Tuesday’s opener at 1 p.m., but Smack said that he’s going into the game with confidence.
“It should be a good season,” he said. “We’ve got our pitchers. We’ve got our defense. We just need to hit the ball.”