If there’s training, it must be spring

The calendar dictates that winter is still a reality, but the truth is that spring has begun in Rappahannock County. Baseball, harbinger of the season, is starting up at the high school.

Infielder Matt Fletcher takes his turn during a practice last season. Photo by Ann Spieker.

The newest face on the RCHS men’s baseball team is its coach, Donald O’Meara. After recently completing his term as the varsity girls’ basketball coach, O’Meara is embarking upon his first year of coaching baseball. “I coached softball for five years, winning two state championships. I am excited about coaching young men. It’s been a few years since I have coached high school boys.”

The team is already practicing, and the roster is full. Excitement reigns among the players, especially the returning players. The majority of this year’s baseball Panthers are veterans of the sport, and they see this season as a chance to win.

Seniors Taylor Yowell, catcher/pitcher, and Chris Garcia, first base/infield, have been playing the sport together for quite some time. “We’ve been playing this game together for 12 years, since we were five years old,” Yowell said. From Little League at Stuart Field in Amissville to adult traveling league, these two players bring experience and enthusiasm to the field.

O’Meara likes the idea of a veteran force and has some ideas for the future. “We have a good core group of returning upperclassmen, and four newcomers to varsity baseball. I look forward to matching and mixing the talent.”

On the practice field, the team is forming its 2010 expectations. The coach and two senior players seemed to agree on the tools in the Panther arsenal. As Garcia put it: “We already have a strong defense, and that normally comes later in the season.”
As far as improvements go, O’Meara said, “our focus will be on developing pitching and hitting.

“To be successful this year,” O’Meara said, “we need some good pitching; that is the main key. The next step is team cohesion. We need to work well together, keeping errors lower than our opponents. We will work hard and maintain positive attitudes. String together a few hits, and we will be competitive.”

From a player’s perspective, Yowell said, “commitment is it. We have to be eager to be out there every day.” Garcia added: “We have to be willing to work hard to get better.”

After a winter of discontent brought on by weather and consequent cabin fever, O’Meara spoke of his team’s enthusiasm. “I am very excited about the upcoming season. After all the snow we have had, we look forward to getting outside. The boys are working hard and already we are having fun. If we continue to work hard, the fun will continue to happen, and we will have success.”

The varsity baseball Panthers have their first game on Tuesday, March 16 at Fresta Valley. The first home game is 7 p.m. Thursday, March 18 against East Hardy.

RCHS Baseball 2010 Roster
Nick Carter ,12th
Matt Fletcher, 11th
Taylor Yowell, 12th
Evan Espinola, 12th
Chris Lee, 12th
Chris Garcia, 12th
John Mills, 11th
David Williams, 11th
Cody Casey, 11th
Brandon Walker, 10th
D’Angelo Robinson, 11th
Grayson Love, 9th
Randolph Gray, 9th
Steven Johnson, 9th
Head coach: Donald O’Meara
Assistant coach: L.B. Settle (RCHS graduate)
Managers: Corey Norman, Zach and Dylan Hitt