Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
FRANKFORT — Put simply, Adena’s baseball program hasn’t had the start it wanted this season.
The Warriors have started the year 1-3 with losses to Hillsboro, Lebanon and Pickerington North … three teams that have talented rosters this spring. But no matter the case, coach Tom Barr and his crew are working to get better everyday.
Last season, Barr’s group finished 18-10 overall after a 4-3 loss to South Point in a Division III district semifinal. As you could imagine, getting past that point and returning to form is at the top of Barr’s to-do list.
We had a chance to catch up with coach Barr and discuss this year’s outlook, what he likes so much about coaching and much more.
Question: Obviously a great run for Adena’s basketball team this past winter. But that could have a little to do with a bit of a slow start for the baseball team this spring. How are your basketball guys progressing?
Barr: It was exciting to see our basketball team make a run this year. It’s incredible how the Village supports our student athletes at Adena. The basketball guys are coming along after putting in a lot of work the past couple of weeks. We won’t make any excuses about the start … we’ve played tough competition and they executed better than we did. We expect to get better everyday.
Q: Arms, arms, arms. Every team needs them but it seems like the Warriors have them. Can you assess your group’s pitching situation and how confident you are as a coach in your staff?
TB: Our players and staff dedicate a lot of time to bullpens and arm care and it reflects on our overall performance. Right now we feel like we have three to four really good starters and three to our good relievers that can put us in a position to win every night. We believe we have at least three guys that can step up and be our ace this spring in Ethan Kunkel, Lucas Foglesong and Jarrett Garrisson.
Q: By now, most fans probably know the “big” names on the team. But who’s a couple of kids that maybe fly under the radar and why?
TB: Kole Williams and Shane Richards. Both of these guys have been working hard since winter workouts started in December. Neither of them had varsity experience before this year and both will contribute this spring in any way that we need them to.
Q: Your 1-3 start is misleading when you look at the competition you’ve had. How does this beginning stretch help you guys come tournament time?
TB: We have a lot of goals for this year so we wanted to put this team through a grinding schedule to help us prepare for May. We were fortunate to have an opportunity to play good Division I and II competition and challenge our guys. Obviously we did some things well and some things not very well. It’s early and we are getting better everyday. Better everyday has been both our mantra and a focus point for our team in 2019. Our guys understand that we aren’t where we need to be in May right now and that we need to get better everyday moving forward.
Q: With SVC play just getting underway, what’s your feelings on the strength of the league this year?
TB: The SVC will be competitive again this year. Every team has at least a couple really good arms and we all know how important pitching is in baseball. When I look at our SVC schedule, I don’t see an easy night. We’re expecting a battle every night in the SVC and our guys know that we have to bring it every night to win ball games.
Q: Easy question. What’s your personal favorite part about the game and what’s your favorite part about being a coach?
TB: Seeing a group of young men come together and work together for a common goal is something that I look forward to every season. As a coach, it’s always exciting to see how the pieces of the puzzle will come together. Watching these young men mature and learn life lessons over their four years of high school is always very special. Of course, one of the most difficult things is knowing that when the season comes to an end, some of that group will move on and not be part of it moving forward. It’s very difficult to look at those seniors knowing they won’t ever play for Adena again.