The Garrison Titans made it to the state tournament last summer, finishing seventh. We spoke to the team about what will get them to Oakes for the state tournament.
Dave Roedocker is in his first season as head coach and he wants to bring a fun but serious atmosphere to the team.
“Trying to make sure the kids are loose and having fun and we’re competitive and that we have the fundamentals, we’re ready to play good defensive baseball,” said Roedocker.
The Titans return all but two guys from last summer leading younger players to step up to fill the gaps.
“There is a lot of kids on this team that expect everyone else to do it for them and I say no you got to do it yourself, you have to step up and you have to be the man,” said catcher Gunnar Jacobs. “That has helped a lot of the kids out and they’ve been making plays this year and getting base hits and we’re doing good.”
“If they make a mistake in-game or practice then we just keep them up and don’t put them down because we were there one day and we’re still making mistakes,” said infielder Clay Bendickson. “So it happens and we just got to keep everyone up and keep them confident.”
One thing the Titans feel is a strength this year is their pitching rotation, with about eight or nine guys led by their ace, Jack Bright.
“It’s nice to have a lot of arms that you can use to help you at tournament time and then the week if you’re playing six or eight games you need a lot of arms to get through the week,” said Roedocker.
“There has been some guys that have really come up and thrown strikes and we actually have like six guys that can actually throw strikes and be consistent,” said Bendickson. “That is huge and knowing that we have a good field behind us and we can go up there and throw strikes and trust each other to make plays.”
But Roedocker believes they need to work on their situational hitting if they want a shot at getting back to the state tournament.
“You got to be able to adjust to anything at the plate, off-speed, you got to be able to react to it and be able to sit back on it and put it in play,” said Bendickson.
“Just get your hands on the ball, if you put the sweet spot of the bat on the ball then you will do fine,” said Jacobs.