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Badgers Baseball Focuses On Little Things to Succeed

16 February 2017  
Prescott Badgers' senior outfielder Dawson Winslow prepares to race to second base on a leadoff drill during practice on Tuesday February 14th, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona. All Photos by: Torrence Dunham

Badgers' Baseball Opens Season with Eight Straight Road Games

PRESCOTT- As the season lies just a few days away, the Prescott Badgers baseball team was out on the field Tuesday laying bricks down to even out the dirt at home plate to prepare the batter’s box for the upcoming season.

Following a twenty-win mark last season, the Badgers fell in the play-in game against Apollo in the division three state playoffs. This year, the Badgers’ are returning a majority of the starting players from the 2016 campaign.

“We kept a lot of the core team,” said Badgers’ senior Justin Warren. “We kept our best batting average player from last year, we kept our best pitcher and obviously this is just a great group of guys. Everyone gets along with each other and it should be a special team.

Once the players were finished laying the bricks, a tarp was put over home plate and it was time to begin practice. The Badgers’ worked on the little things from leadoffs to bunting.

“That’s kind of a trade mark of our clubs,” said Badgers’ baseball head coach Kent Winslow who is entering his fourth year at the helm. “The short game is important because you can’t always come out and score ten runs.”

Winslow says this team won’t have much ability to smack the ball over the fence, mainly because of the ballpark which is the most spacious field in Arizona high school baseball. As such, the team will focus on contact and gap-to-gap offense.

“I’m thinking we’re going to be a little better as far as contact goes, we won’t swing and miss quite as much. We’re going to be doubles hitters for the most part,” Winslow said. “I’m hoping we swing it and drive some balls in the gap-run some doubles and triples. We got pretty good team speed so I think we will be able to accomplish that.

The Prescott Badgers are not well known at the state level as the team, even with over twenty wins and only eight losses, were ranked 29th in the Max Preps statewide poll at the end of last season. However, these Badgers’ look to surprise a few of the top ranked teams by not beating themselves.

“Most teams will be more talented than us because they just have a bigger population and get the best of the best in Phoenix,” said Warren as nine of the top ten ranked teams from last season are located in the valley. “We strive to outwork them in every game.”

The Badgers will have to go through a challenge right as the season begins as the first eight games are on the road.

“It is difficult, we do spend a lot of time on busses,” Winslow said. “I tell the kids that it’s a good preparation for us when we do get into playoffs, that we’re going to be doing that every other day anyway so it’s not a shock to our system that we got to travel to Phoenix five out of seven days.”

“It’s not easy but it is what it is and we will make the best out of it,” Winslow continued.

The season begins on Wednesday Feburary 22nd at 3:45pm against the Raymond S. Kellis Cougars in the 2017 Adam Donnenfield Baseball Tournament. Badgers won’t play their first home game until Friday March 17th against the Thunderbird Chiefs at 3:30pm.