by Molly Mitchell / Lion Staff
Oubs they’re doing it again – not surprisingly, the Lovett baseball team has started their season off strong, with a 5-1 record. They will hopefully continue their string of success at their upcoming games vs. Redan, which are also their first region games and hopefully the start of their journey to a potential 9th state title.
Head Coach Lance Oubs indicated that, like most sports teams at Lovett, their main goal is to compete for a region and state championship. “We return a very experienced squad as every senior was part of the 2016 State Championship team,” said Coach Oubs.
“This year’s motto is ‘Play for May,’” he told me. Junior William Marino, who plays center field and pitcher, added, “I would really like to end the season with my first ring and give the seniors their second.”
The team has not picked captains yet, but that usually takes place right before they start region play, traditionally during their spring break trip to Tampa, Florida. The whole team is looking forward to the tip as it will be a chance for them to hang out and bond, even more so than they already have. “This senior class is already doing a great job in leading the team in the right direction,” said Marino.
According to senior Grayson Nix, who pitches and sometimes plays left field, a typical practice usually consists of SAT (Stretch, Agilities, and Throwing). Then, the guys split into their defensive/individual position groups and practice fielding before coming together. Lastly, after they field they will go inside to the cages and hit for roughly an hour. “It is early in the season so everything is still warming up, and we are learning and re-learning new and old things,” said Grayson.
Coach Oubs thinks his eight seniors have done an outstanding job of helping lead the younger guys on the team. “In terms of underclassmen who’ve stepped up, [junior] Dhruv Patel has been pitching extremely well so far, and [junior] Will Seiler has been doing very well at the plate,” he said.
Grayson gave a little shout out to freshman Owen McMurtrie, since he was the only person in his grade to make the team, and has already gotten his first save and win as a Lovett Varsity pitcher.
When talking about this team’s strengths, senior Wyatt Nelson emphasized “the depth in our pitching staff...with about 8 guys who Coach is comfortable with throwing on the mound at any given time...as well as a great defense to back them up.” Offensively, he said, the guys “also have the ability to do some major damage at the plate.” William added, “I think the Lovett baseball program has always been strong and I do not think this year will be any different.”
Players and coaches agree that the best game thus far was against Walker, when Lovett was down 0-2 with two outs, and came back in the 7th and final inning and scored 2 runs to tie it up. With two strikes, senior Peyton Ringer hit a shot up the middle to score the winning run, leaving the score 3-2. “It was a very slow game in the beginning as our pitchers battled it out,” William told me, “but we never gave up.”
And they also agree that the upcoming matchups against Redan are going to be big. “They are going to be one of the best teams we play this year, and I'm excited to see what we can do against them,” Grayson told me. “It will be a good test to see where we are, and where we need to be.”
Coach Oubs made a point of saying that his favorite part about coaching the baseball team is watching the growth that takes place each year as incoming 8th graders eventually become seniors. “This not only includes how they develop as baseball players through their hard work and dedication, but also how they mature as young men about to head off to college.”
Wyatt would certainly affirm the impact of that process. “Nothing beats the relationships I create with my teammates as well as coaches, and getting to play the sport I love with some of my closest friends,” he said.