'Just want to score' mentality leads Bulldogs to strong start this spring
At 6-1, the Yale High School baseball team has proven its productive offense so far this spring.
The Bulldogs have totaled 71 runs, averaging 10.1 per game, a credit to their aggressive base running. They’ve managed 39 stolen bases for an average of 5.5 per game, with a season-high 10 against New Haven on April 8 when they won 16-0.
Against Port Huron Northern on Friday, Yale won both games of the doubleheader, 8-5 and 4-1, with eight stolen bases on the night.
“That’s what we have to be, we’ve got to be aggressive on the base paths,” head coach Brian Fowler said. “We’re always trying to score, that’s the name of the offense…We’re a pretty athletic group so we work hard on knowing what to look for and how to get good leads and good jumps. We’ve been able to take advantage of some things that the defense has left out there.”
Fowler said it's a different style of play than what he’s used to, but then again, a majority of this year’s team is different as only three players return with varsity experience: James Taylor Bahr, Aidan Korolden, and Connor Jakubiak.
“Seven guys graduated last year so we’ve got a lot of new faces…I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that these guys just want to score and play in high scoring affairs,” Fowler said. “They’re just a loose group of guys who are just going to keep coming after you. This is what they’ve done their entire lives.”
About half of the roster is made up of seniors, the other half is juniors, and one lone freshman, Cole Peltier.
Peltier earned the win in game one on Friday after taking over for Nolan Raymo, who struck out three of the 16 batters he faced. Korolden pitched all five innings of game two with 10 strikeouts, two balls, and five hits.
At the plate, Layden Morgan led the Bulldogs with a 2-7 performance with two RBI and one run across both games.
“This year Aidan made the commitment to the weight room and to playing with [East Coast Michigan travel team], and getting quality instruction,” Fowler said. “I’m pretty happy with where he’s at and his wilingness to learn new pitches and just command the game from the mental side. He has been pretty spectacular this year.”
With a strong pitcher on the mound, Folwer said this give his defense more confidence and time as it progresses. He said offensively, the Bulldogs, like many teams in the state, are ahead of where they’d typically be thanks to the warmer weather. But they’ve still got work to do in the field.
“We’re off to a pretty hot start. That’s not what I expected simply becuase we’re young. But there are a lot of things weve got to learn to continue to where we want to be at,” Fowler said. “We’re still about six or seven weeks away from where we want to be mentally and know what things to look for, but hey, we’re 6-1. We’re not giving that back.”
And fortunately for Fowler and the Bulldogs, six weeks from now is when every pitch and every play mean a lot more.
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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