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WC baseball uses fall to prep for postseason run


Once upon a time baseball was considered a spring sport.

Not so much anymore. To be competitive, players at all levels from youth to the professionals are finding themselves playing on almost a year-round basis.

This is especially true in the college ranks, where players begin the year with fall competition leading to the spring, where official records and standings are kept.

But don’t kid yourself, the fall plays a key role in the outcomes of the spring. For example, the game has become so much of a year-round event that Weatherford College Coyotes head coach Jeff Lightfoot said there is no longer a recruiting season, calling it a “year-round grind.”

And while he said every position is recruited every year, the focus this year was on shortstop, catching and pitching.

“Hunter Rosson from Aledo, along with others, will help fill the void at shortstop,” Lightfoot said. “We will need to fill the void at catcher this fall left by Landon Gray (Tennessee) and Jake White (Northwest Oklahoma), and we have several guys working hard back there this fall. We have a great crop of (pitching) arms this fall, starting with transfers Trevis Sundgren (University of Houston), Carlos Tavera (University of Texas-Arlington) and Jesse Cravy (Angelina College).”

Along with addressing those needs on the field, Lightfoot said he and his staff are looking closely at preparing athletes to do as much as possible to avoid injuries. That was something that hampered them this past spring as they finished 27-27 overall and 17-15 in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference, missing the postseason.

“We were not pleased with the outcome in 2018, it was a rough season from an injury standpoint. It is important to make sure that we are doing things this fall to cultivate a championship culture here,” Lightfoot said.

And while the fall does present an opportunity to look at newcomers and the progress of returning players, it is nonetheless competitive, Lightfoot said.

“The fall is about setting the tone for who we are and a focus on the fundamentals. It is also a time for competition, as there are many new faces competing for roster spots,” he said.

Another challenge this fall has been the incessant rain. The Coyotes have had to cancel three games, postpone another and move another to nearby Brock High School.

“The rain this fall has been great for the lakes but terrible for baseball. With a grass surface the rains have caused us to miss much-needed practice time,” Lightfoot said.

Still, Lightfoot said he is pleased with what he has seen this fall.

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