By BRAD BAUGHMAN | For The Democrat
When the Brown County High School varsity baseball team pulled out a 6-5 win over Southwestern Shelby High School on April 26 at Eagle Park, first year Head Coach Justice Guerrero had to have left the dugout smiling. He had just notched his first win as the Eagles’ coach.
As meaningful as that victory was for him, it was probably even more significant for some of his players who had just experienced their first win in two seasons. Following the game, Guerrero had praise for some of his players’ performances.
“Noah Lewis, freshman, threw all seven innings; the middle infield of sophomores Brady Bond and Jack Sichting, shortstop and second baseman respectively, shored up the middle for us, and senior Eli Sichting made some great plays out in center,” said Guerrero. Offensively, sophomore Mikey Kobiernik led the team with two hits.
In what Guerrero calls a season that “has had its ups and downs,” he credits the entire team for persevering through the tough times. “Honestly, the whole team has stood out. We are big on the next man up attitude, and there have been multiple players who have had to switch roles and positions for the needs of the team,” he said.
One of the biggest challenges facing the team is its youth. Nineteen of the 26 players on the roster are underclassmen with little or no experience. The unpredictable spring weather has also posed a hurdle for player development. “We have had limited days outside, and it makes it difficult to help our outfielders learn their position. We are limited in what we can accomplish in a gym,” said Guerrero.
Though the team’s record currently stands at one win and six losses overall and no wins and four losses in conference play, Guerrero remains positive. “I have enjoyed seeing the way the team continues to compete and grow, regardless of the scoreboard,” he said.
With the Indiana High School Athletic Association sectional less than a month away, Guerrero’s expectation for his team is clear.
“The expectation I have for our guys the rest of the way is to finish. We emphasize the little things and being intentional with everything we do. As long as they keep showing up and putting in the work, we will be where we want to be,” Guerrero said.
That recent win over Southwestern might just be the catalyst Guerrero’s young squad needs to help them successfully navigate the remainder of the season, and while the first year coach knows retooling a program takes time, he hopes to witness more good moments before the season ends.
The Eagles travel to South Putnam Wednesday, May 4, for a 5:30 p.m. game before engaging in a three game home stand. They play Monrovia on Saturday, May 7, at 11 a.m.; Greenwood Christian on Monday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m.; and Greencastle on Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m.
“I am just excited as to where the program is headed and look forward to what the rest of the season has to hold,” Guerrero said.
“Brown County baseball is back and here to make a statement before the season is through.”