Feb. 18—NEW WAVERLY — Baseball season is soon to be back for New Waverly as they took to take the next step with a bullpen full of talent.
The Bulldogs return seven arms to the mound this year as all of them gained experience at the varsity level last season as New Waverly made the bi-district round.
"I'm excited for how deep we are pitching-wise," New Waverly's second-year head coach Rodney Morphew said. "We have a lot of guys that can throw the baseball and I'm excited we are a year older and more mature. I'm looking forward to seeing how these guys can throw."
New Waverly's pitching staff will look to senior Brock Thorn on the mound to not only provide innings but a leadership role as one of the Dogs' lone seniors.
Last season on the mound, Thorn saw 20.1 innings pitched where he allowed 13 hits and eight runs. The senior will also see time in the outfield when not on the mound. Thorn had an ERA of 1.71 in nine outings also logging a save.
A secondary pitcher Morphew will look to is sophomore Cade Garrett. In his freshman year, Garrett saw eight appearances where he had an ERA of 1.83. But with those two being at the top of the rotations, New Waverly still has several more arms to turn to.
"We have seven of them coming back from last year," Morphew said. "We are always looking towards Cade Garrett. We are looking for our seniors in Ryan Schur and Brock Thorn to lead the way as well. Having eight guys coming back with varsity-level experience is a good sign for a team that was young last year. Brock is probably our best pitcher this year"
Shall the Dogs get into a jam with those two, Schur provides one of those arms that can provide relief. Schur saw action in four games on the mound where he has a 1.91 ERA in his 7.1 innings of work, but now he has the reps to bring him along.
Other arms that New Waverly will be able to turn to are sophomore Lane Fortune, freshman Brayden Stevenson, junior Korbin Wale, junior Brett Adams and junior Austin Dowies.
"We have multiple guys that can come in as short relievers and long relievers," Morphew said. "There are a bunch of guys that can get up there and do the job. It makes my job as a coach easier when you have a guy out there struggling but you have other arms to go with it."
As far as the back seven, New Waverly will have to plug in place with whoever is on the mound. Garrett also plays shortstop and is the leader of the infield when not on the mound as Fortune plays second.
But with a strong defense comes an offense that needs to score runs. New Waverly will look to Garrett at the plate. He hit for a team-high .299 average last season with 26 hits in 87 at-bats.
To go along with him will be Adams who led the team last year in RBI with 26. His 25 hits, 10 of them being extra base, bring back an experience to this squad the New Waverly will need with a strong pitching staff.
New Waverly also brings back 126 of its 177 hits from last season, but the approach taken is to have the right approach at the plate and wait for your pitch. Last season, the Dogs struck out 191 times with 97 walks to show for it,
"Consistency," Morphew said. "We have to be patient at the plate and that is something we have been focusing on. We have to make sure we are staying back and staying consistent with our approach."
Now with the season set to start next week, the Dogs can't get ahead of themselves. New Waverly will open its season on Tuesday when they travel to Buffalo for its opening game.
The Bulldogs will start their season with a first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. in Buffalo. New Waverly will host its first home game on March 7 when they open up district play against Coldspring.
"We've just talked about taking it one game at a time," Morphew said. "That is something you want to focus on and do what you need to do to win that first game. We want to be able to compete in the district and 147 is our goal, 147 is the miles from New Waverly to Round Rock."