Hardballers look to rebound with new coach

Aaron Nordberg is one of several players ready to lead the baseball team back to the playoffs. - John Becerra Jr./Staff Photo
Aaron Nordberg is one of several players ready to lead the baseball team back to the playoffs.
— image credit: John Becerra Jr./Staff Photo

Spartans eager to get back to the playoffs.

With first year coach David Smart now at the helm, the Spartans want to make a better showing than last season.

Coming off an appearance in the state title game in 2009 for the first time in school history, Bainbridge could not overcome the loss of 13 seniors and injuries late in the season. They finished with a 7-12 record and did not make the playoffs.

Head coach Jayson Gore resigned in June after nine seasons.

Smart, who was hired in November, said he feels the players are getting used to his coaching style.

“So far, it’s been good,” he said. “We’ve got a good group of kids to buy in. We’re all on the same page as far as what we’re looking to get out of (this season).”

Senior pitcher Connor Loudon said Smart’s coaching style is a change of pace from his predecessor, but one the team welcomes.

“Its good to get a fresh start with a new coach,” he said. “He seems to know his stuff pretty well, which is good. He’s got us all organized, he’s got a good perception of the game, he’s younger (Smart is 27), so he can relate to us and he’s easy to talk to.”

Loudon also said the coaching staff – JV coach Steve Henderson, C-team coach Jim Behrens and volunteers Terry Brooks, Luke Swanson and Gregg Mesmer – have been a great asset to getting them ready for the new season.

“They’re all incredible,” he said. “I’m really impressed with what they bring to the table.

Besides Loudon, other returnees are pitcher Rion Ramirez, pitcher Daniel Wyman, outfielder JJ Wilford, shortstop Nick Denney, pitcher/infielder Steven Wellbrock, catcher Henry Indvik, outfielder Rico Failla, Dustin Lewis and Robbie Ackerly.

Many of the seniors were sophomores when the Spartans made their run to the state finals.

Smart is impressed with the players coming back and thinks many will be everyday starters.

“We’ve also got a lot of younger guys that are impressing me,” he said. “It’s just a matter of finding spots for them. It’s not so much that they don’t have the ability to play ball, it’s just that there’s someone in front of them that they can’t kick out.”

Loudon felt that Paimon Jaberi, Spencer Hogger and Nick Bierly can get some time on the varsity squad.

According to Loudon, the team’s strength will be its chemistry.

“Last year it was good, but this year will be just as good,” he said. “Everyone gets along well with each other.”

He also felt the team will be strong on the mound, as Ramirez, Loudon, Wellbrock and Wyman making up a formidable pitching staff. Ramirez is listed as the 37th ranked prospect for the Baseball Northwest’s Super 60 Prospect List for the Class of 2011.

Another key for the Spartans will be depth at every position, which will be a big factor towards the team’s success down the stretch.

While things look good now, Loudon said the big thing will be staying healthy as best they can and not getting overworked.

“That was my problem,” said Loudon, who suffered a season-ending injury last season.

Another factor will be Smart’s learning curve about the competition in the Metro League, though Loudon thinks the coach will be a quick study.

“It won’t take him long,” he said.

Though the Metro League has seen a fair amount of talent graduate, O’Dea, Bishop Blanchet, Eastside Catholic, Nathan Hale and West Seattle will all have a fair shot at making the playoffs.

Loudon feels the Spartans will be there, too.

“I think we’ll be pretty evenly matched [with other teams) with the players and coaches we have,” he said. “We just have to stay healthy.”

New head coach David Smart and assistant coach Jim Behrens (background) hit fungoes to players at practice Tuesday.

John Becerra Jr./Staff Photo



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