PN baseball: around the horn

Carter Landis, Sports Editor

Soon, if not later, the weather will warm up. As soon as that happens, the Portage Northern men’s baseball team will be out on the diamond to practice for the upcoming season. Head coach Chris Andrews has high hopes for his squad. “I’m optimistic that we’re gonna have a good team. Lots of good players, lot of good kids. We’re not focused on our outcomes, you know, on wins and losses, but if we do the things we are focused on, there’s a good chance we’re gonna win a lot of games.”

Coach Chris Andrews holds the Division 1 district championship trophy after their win last year. Photo by Bryan Bennett.

Some of Andrews’s top seniors echoed these statements. Pitcher JP Gonzalez and pitcher and first baseman Michael Lincoln have high aspirations for how the season could potentially play out. “We think we can contend for [the State Championship] this year,” Lincoln says. “We have a good group of guys that have really bonded well this year so far. We like playing with each other, and we have a lot of talent that goes along with that too. If we can bring it together, I think we can be successful.”

Gonzalez agreed. “We do have a talented group of guys. We’re all rounded out, we all have a role, and we’re all executing our roles so far.” Lincoln continued, “I feel like everybody understands what their role is on this team, so if everybody understands that, we’ll be successful.”

Senior center fielder Noah Hecht spoke on Andrews’s comments about not being focused on outcomes, just their own personal goals. “It’s kind of our philosophy. Most people expect to just go out and win, but our way of winning is doing what we need to do in practice in order to win, and essentially the victories will just come naturally. So our main focus is just working on the little things in practice.”

Quinlan Lewis, a senior pitcher, had a tough time watching from the dugout as his squad was bounced from the district playoffs in the first round. Lewis injured his shoulder last season and couldn’t play. “One of my personal goals this year is just to make it back to my old self and be able to perform. However, this team is extremely special and we preach the ‘we, not me’ mentality, so it’s anything I can do to help the team succeed and get us back to McLane Field.”

The ‘we, not me,’ mentality Lewis talks about is being selfless and putting your teammates before yourself. “Last year was a rough year for us as a program, losing in the first round of districts. This was after three years of being regional champs. So, we took a step back and saw what wasn’t happening last year like the years prior. One major thing we saw was that we weren’t playing for each other, but ourselves. This year is completely different, we are believing we can do whatever we put our minds to as long as we are together.”

Coach Andrews and all his players have high goals and expectations for the season, and they have been working hard during practice to try to piece together the perfect championship team. It is early, but the coaches and players have immense confidence that the team they have is something special.