This week, Wittenberg’s head baseball coach Jay Lewis took the time to sit down and answer some questions. The Tigers are just kicking off the Ohio portion of their season, after returning from their spring break training trip to Florida.
“We went down there not knowing what to expect,” Lewis said, as this was the first time he had seen his team play live since the fall.
The Tigers had limited time to practice outside before their departure, along with a short time seeing what a few of the multi-sport athletes could do.
“With a lot of new faces,” Lewis said, “we had some guys come out late from the football [season] to see what they would do for us.”
With such a lengthy time off, there leaves a lot of unknowns going into the start of the season.
As the Florida trip consists mostly of games leaving little time for practice, Lewis said, “There were a lot of question marks coming from the fall to the winter. You have to go get out on the field, get in the game to see how guys are going to perform and whether or not they can perform…or if they need more time or reps.”
Upon returning, the Tigers have played only one game, suffering a loss to the Cardinals of Otterbein. This was a game that they were in all the way up until the late innings, and a game Lewis thought they could win, as his team showed great resolve and resilience against a 10-1 Otterbein team.
As the conversation with Lewis progressed, the theme seemed to keep circling back around to, as he described it: “We have hit well. Played defense well, at times; and pitched well, at times. Now it is a matter of putting all those aspects together.”
Though the Tigers lost some production in the power of Tyler Hutchinson and the consistency of Dave Moore, they have had a commitment to keep the offense alive from guys like sophomore Dalton Boucher, working hard in the off-season to get stronger, and senior Zac Wilson, who has been as reliable as they come since he put on a Tiger jersey his freshman season. As the Tigers look to play fast — stealing bases, running hard and going all out on every play — Lewis already seems to think his Tiger squad is in a better position than they were last year after returning from Florida.
“It’s going to be tough every weekend,” Lewis said. “NCAC (North Coast Athletic Conference) play starts this weekend against DePauw, followed by Wabash, leading to 16 games against quality teams week-in and week-out….Right now, we are different and better than last year, but just to compile the little successes with each game will prove to be a good season.”