Brooks: ‘We got better from week to week’Published 10:35am Friday, April 19, 2013
The Wetumpka High baseball line-up that took the field in Monday’s season finale loss to Spain Park, sans two graduating seniors, will be the line-up for at least the next two seasons.
“I told them last night after the games the pressure is on now,” said Russ Brooks, first-year coach of the Indians, “We started working out today and we are working out with a reason, not just to get stronger but to get into the playoffs.”
The Indians finished the year 15-19 and claimed a lone victory in the area race won by No. 1 Thompson and seconded by Prattville.
“I think we’ve got some good young kids in the clubhouse,” said Brooks. “I don’t think a lot of people saw us doing what we did this year. I think there were some who were expecting for it to go a lot worse than what we did.”
Even with a line-up that featured two seniors, two juniors and five underclassmen (some freshman in the line-up were every day starters and played upwards of 30 games) the Indians didn’t back down.
“Was it good enough, no,” said Brooks. “But I’ve been coaching a long time and I can go to sleep at night knowing that this bunch got better from game to game, from week to week. Now we have to build on it.”
To help meet that end, Brooks has put together a baseball-specific weight and conditioning program that started Tuesday and will go full swing until the end of June.
“I’m giving them July off and then we are coming back the first day of August and will start working out the same day the football team does,” said Brooks. “We are going to outwork people in the weight room. That might not make us win, but we are going to be strong as rip.”
Brooks, who has a line-up of primarily baseball players with aspirations of collegiate diamonds, is also taking into account the levels of maturity that occurs between seasons.
“Some of that maturity is going to help greatly,” said Brooks. “I’m going to do my part to help them grow. They are going to be strong and I’m going to help them establish that mental edge that comes with age.”
Over the summer, the Indians will play together on an American Legion team.
“Summer is going to be very important,” said Brooks. “We are going to change what we do. All of them are playing. Baseball is a sport where the only real way to get better is to keep playing.”
Brooks said the 2013 season was a learning season for his group of Indians.
“I think our kids know we can go out and win now,” said Brooks. “We had some chances to win our area games. We were right there against Stanhope Elmore and against Prattville; and we had shot against Thompson. At the end of the game, it just didn’t work out. But, it’s not like the other teams are going to go to work either.”
Despite the sweep by Spain Park to close out the year, Brooks was pleased.
“I was proud of our parents and our booster clubs,” said Brooks. “I thought the whole thing went pretty well.”