Homerun to Success

With there only being one quarter left, senioritis is starting to take its effect on everyone – everyone excluding the varsity baseball team, that is.

This is partly because a good portion of the team is juniors, but also because the players have a passion for the game, similar to senior third baseman Jordan Fox. He was introduced to baseball as a kid and has played ever since.

I love hitting and finding different ways to get better every day,” Fox said. “ I see myself being able to pursue my career in baseball at the next level in college and want to see how far I can take baseball. The plan is to keep playing until I can’t play anymore.”

The Vikings (1-0) started this year off with a 6-2 win over Joliet Catholic on Monday.

The whole team will need to maintain a strong attitude if they plan on having a successful season with the current challenges in front of them.

“Seven out of the nine starters graduated, along with the entire starting pitching staff,” head coach Todd Sippel said. “This year’s team is going to have to prove [that] they can compete in this very difficult conference.”

Last year, four out of the eight teams finished .500 or above, and H-F won 10 out of 14 games.

Sippel points out one factor from that game that could lead H-F to winning the conference.

“It looks like the defense will be above average,” he said. “That, along with pitchers throwing strikes, allows any team to compete.”

The H-F pitching core of junior August Schlaffer and seniors Frank Lepore and Cobi Sabo will all start this year with more regularity than last.

“We don’t have the big name pitchers such as Jeremy Orbik or Malcolm Grady,” Fox said. “But I believe there are pitchers on the team this year that will step up and our defense will also back them up and be behind them.”

Even if there are players that aren’t able to step up in the early going for H-F, that problem will be fixed according to senior shortstop Korry Howell.

“Playing here at Homewood-Flossmoor is amazing, the coaches really have our best interest at heart,” Howell said. “They take the time to work and teach us things that we are struggling at.”

That is one of the biggest keys to success as a team, having patient coaches, and the Vikings have that.

According to sophomore Zaid Walker, there is another big key factor.

“The varsity team this year has a lot of chemistry and I think it is a lot better than other teams,” Walker said. “Everybody is humble and knows their role. I think this team has the potential to be great.”

Also, the veterans on the varsity team do a great job of mentoring the younger players, which puts them over teams without experience or leadership. Everyone also gets along, so there are never any locker room problems.

“I have had fun playing with my guys,” Walker said. “I was the youngest on the team last year and this year again so I always learn something from the older guys.”

Teams that get along and have veteran leadership to go along with new key players usually are great teams and we have a good reason to believe that will be the result this year for the Vikings.