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The Lake News Online
  • Blacktop Baseball

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  • When the baseball field is too wet to play on, teams are forced to explore other options.
    If you play for the Macks Creek Pirates, it means playing in the school parking lot.
    That's right.
    Blacktop baseball.
    "As far as getting outside, we take advantage of the sun when we have it," head coach Jason Trusty said. "If we can get outside and do some throwing, stretch the arms out and do a little drill work with the infield and outfield, it's better than being stuck inside on a gym floor."
    With the outfield being in less than desirable playing conditions, the team works their way through fielding drills on the asphalt, practicing in any way they can to prepare for the upcoming season.
    "Gym practices suck," senior third basemen Bricker Berry said. "We prefer playing in the parking lot, but we really want to get out on the field more than anything."
    The Pirates current "field" brings a new set of challenges, which the team has adjusted to.
    "It's very different," Brodi Kinney said. "The ball moves differently, if you fall down, you get pretty scraped up. We've had a lot of falls, scraped legs."
    Not to mention avoiding the bus windows.
    But the team has accepted the challenges, and seem pleased just to be outside playing the game they love.
    Coach Trusty took over the program four years ago, meaning this year's senior class is the first to spend their high school career in his program.
    "Before he got here, it wasn't really team," Austin Hufferd said. "We had a different coach every year."
    "It was a culture shock when he came," Kinney added. "It's always been a basketball school, and our team had one win in three years. In his first year here, we doubled that."
    And this season, the team is prepped and ready, gearing up for the coming season. The team's first game is Tuesday, March 19 against Tuscumbia, and the seniors say they have been rained out of each one of their Tuscumbia games in the past three years.
    The team has a number of goals for the season, but they also want to be rational with their expectations.
    "I think everyone wants an undefeated season, but I think we can come out with 16 or 17 wins," Kinney said.
    "We have to think realistically," Berry said. "I mean, some of the teams we play are tough, and we lost our ace, who moved to Oregon."
    But the overall goals are within reach. With the whole season ahead of them, the team's number one hope is to win the district title.
    Page 2 of 2 - "My boys work hard," Trusty said. "I'd say. right now, that defense will be our bread and butter. We like to play defense-that's my big thing. Offensively, I'm hoping that we flip-flop last year's .263 batting average. Pitching-wise, we'll play whoever has got the hot hand."
    Their district is an interesting one, as they will face a tough Stoutland team, who has had the team's number in the past. Also on the lineup is St. Elizabeth, Newburg, Crocker and Tuscumbia.
    Whatever the case may, and whatever the season may bring, one thing is certain: Trusty and his Pirates are going to be tough competitors.
    They're the pirates of the pavement, able to adapt to any field.

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