By Corey B. Elliot
— The Ben Davis Giants baseball squad is not looking at 2013 like a team in rebuilding mode content with taking games when they can get them. Instead, coach Aaron Kroll has his balanced group of upper and underclassmen ready to go out every night and compete mentally and physically.
After finishing last season with a loss in the sectional semifinals and a 16-14 record, the Giants hope to improve and win more this year.
“We’re all hopeful that we’ll still have a winning season,” Kroll said. “We play in the MIC and it’s a dog fight every night because there are no cupcake teams on our schedule. We’ve typically been above .500, usually finishing right around the middle of mix, but this season we’d like to be more than competitive. We’re trying to get the most out of what we have so I’m very hopeful for a winning season. I don’t think we’ll regress.”
The Giants are leaning on the experience of their team captains to ensure their efforts are rewarded with results that meet the expectations. Led by senior catcher Arin Welsh, senior shortstop Jake DeWeese, and junior outfielder/pitcher Sean Boswell, the Giants will be a new team, thanks to the positive outlook of their coach and encouragement from their team captains.
“DeWeese is plain and simple — a guy that gets on base,” Kroll said. “He hit .326 last year and his on base was over .500 so we know what we’re getting from him. Boswell hit .421 as a sophomore last year and we expect Welsh to bounce back from the down year as much as we need him to bounce back.
“To me, this is a different group then last year. One of the things we’re excited about is the morale and attitudes, which are much different than last year.”
This season may look like a mediocre year on paper but the difference is the efforts and the attitudes behind the scenes that have ensued over the winter months and preseason workouts.
“Last year it didn’t work with the group we had,” Kroll said. “We feel that the group coming in is a much better group to work with and a lot more fun to be around.”
Fun is the foundation of success in team sports. It may be cliché, but it’s indeed true. However, winning is also fun and Kroll’s Giants will have to buy into the mission and learn lessons along the way to improve as a team.
“Regardless of how we look on paper this year, we feel if we do certain things that play into our philosophy, then we feel like we have a chance,” Kroll said. “We’ve been preaching and working on getting them to buy into that philosophy. We play in a big ball park. We won’t hit a lot of home runs so we’re trying to play into our strengths and during the offseason they bought into what we’re trying to do.”
Throughout the months to come there are goals set in stone that will not change from year to year. Along with county and sectionals there are always a few teams that will be highlighted on the Giants’ season schedule. For Kroll, he strays from pin-pointing one specific game, but for his players, it’s another story.
“Our goal is to be playing the best baseball by May,” Kroll said. “The first week is county and the last week of May is sectionals. As far as one specific game, I won’t call it a rivalry until we beat them, but Brownsburg is always pretty darn good, so I feel like that’s one game our guys look forward to.”