The high school baseball season starts this week and Austin Hunsaker says his Henry County Wildcats are very coachable and are more prepared for games, compared to previous seasons when the weather put a damper on pre-season play.
The Wildcats, who officially opened their season on Monday at Christian Academy-Louisville, were able to get more time on the field this preseason and played scrimmages against Eminence and Carroll County. According to Hunsaker, Henry is concentrating on hitting this year, trying to improve on what he considered a weak area in 2009. Pitching and defense are also focal points.
“Practices have been going really well. This is a really good group of kids who are very coachable,” Hunsaker said. “We have a lot of young kids who are talented and can swing a bat. There are a lot of opportunities for us.”
Henry finished last season with a 7-9 overall record and lost to Carroll County in the first round of the 31st District tournament. Like teams all across Kentucky, a majority of Henry’s games were canceled due to a rainy spring.
The lineup is not set yet, and some players are still competing for spots on the field. Right now, Dylan Oullette plays first base, Ben Schroeder plays second base, Austyn Sailings plays shortstop, Zach Rahm plays third base and Lance Williams plays catcher. The outfield includes a combination of Dylan Hall, Trent Lucas, Randy Moore and a few other players still vying for playing time. Andrew Pollard and Jarod Payton will also see plenty of varsity innings, Hunsaker said. Rahm and Moore are the teams two seniors who will provide the leadership.
Seeing time on the mound as the top pitchers are Ouellette, Brandon Knight, Lucas and Schroeder.
“It’s all really just a work in progress right now,” Hunsaker explained while listing his key players. “There’s nothing guaranteed with this team. We have a lot of young ones who have so much room to grow so it’s just a work in progress.”
Depending on the weather, the Wildcats opened their season at Christian Academy on Monday, hosted Trimble County on Tuesday and plays Oldham County at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at home. They have more than 30 games scheduled, culminating with the district tournament in late May.
The main goal is to progress each day in practices and games, playing its best ball when it matters the most during the postseason.
“We’re trying to get these guys varsity experience and understanding what it’s all about at this level,” said Hunsaker, who wants to encourage the community to support his team this spring. “I will say we have looked better during our practices, and looked better in the second scrimmage than our first. If we continue to learn and continue to get better, that’s all we can ask for.”