As the spring season begins, the 2022 Fords Baseball team is full of new faces. The team lost several key players from last year’s squad, and they now have to deal with a tough schedule including multiple matchups with Malvern Prep.
Sixth Former Ryan Reed believes the turnover from last year is the team’s biggest challenge.
“We lost nine starters last year, so we’ve had to replace almost every person in our starting lineup,” Reed said. “We’re just really inexperienced and young.”
The Fords will turn to the leadership from its oldest players.
Among those leaders is Sixth Former Colby McNeely, who has emphasized focused practices as the team prepares.
“I think we have a good group of seniors who keep everyone on task,” McNeely said. “Nobody’s messing around during practice, and everyone’s locked in.”
The Sixth Formers try to provide a model for the young players to follow.
“We’ve got a really young team, so I just try to go out there every day and lead by example,” Sixth Former Jimmy Davey said. “The practices have been really good, with a lot of good energy.”
The coaches have also had an especially large role as they try to mold the young team.
“I think the coaches are really good this year,” McNeely said. “They always are, but they’re really into it this year because we have a lot of inexperienced guys. They have to get them into the varsity mindset, not taking any games for granted.”
Despite the new team, the culture from previous remains intact, characterized by intense preparation and teamwork.
“(The energy is) not too different from past years,” Reed said. “We just try to focus every practice and keep the energy high and positive.”
For the Fords, practice and preparation extends beyond the baseball field. The team attends routine film sessions and scout meetings to develop a game plan. The players, this year more than any other, are drawing motivation from external sources, feeling slighted by the assumptions of others.
“A lot of the local news, they don’t really expect much out of us this year and don’t really think we’re going to do that well,” Reed said. “I think we have a chance to prove a lot of guys wrong.”
To this point, the formula has proven successful, and the players feel well-prepared as the season gets underway. On March 11, the Fords won their season opener 10-0 against the Hill School. They expect to continue their success and prove the doubters wrong.
“We’ve been having really good practices and film sessions,” McNeely said. “Everybody’s really embracing that underdog role, and we all want to win.”