Monterey No. 1 in Class B
Monterey — The Monterey High School Wolves baseball team has climbed its way to the top of the power rankings with a 2-0 sweep of Grace Christian School last week.
The Wolves (17-4) were ranked No. 2 before meeting with top-ranked Grace Christian last Tuesday and Thursday with an 8-5 and 2-1 win at home.
Monterey head coach Eric Richard said the wins were the most important victories of the season at that point in time, but his Wolves must not dwell on the past and focus on now.
“We try to teach the boys to focus on trying to improve every day,” Richard said. “We have to focus on playing our best baseball today. If we fous on that, the long-term goals will take care of itself. If we loom in the past, we may not accomplish what we want to accomplish. We have to focus on the short term.”
The short-term goal for Monterey is to finish its regular season this week with a sweep against Harrisonburg High School.
If the Wolves can accomplish that, they will maintain the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs next week.
Richard said there will be a week between the end of the regular season and the start of playoffs and there are pros and cons to the playing gap.
“From a batting stand point, it’s a bad thing because if you have a week layoff, it can mess with your timing,” Richard said. “But as far as resting our pitchers’ arms, it’s a good thing. It has positives and negatives from it because it gives us an opportunity to practice and work on things that are hard to work on during season.”
Richard said resting his pitchers’ arms is one of the bigger pros, as the Wolves rely heavily on solid pitching from Kade Passman and Jake Cooper and defense from his outfield.
“We have a chance to beat most of the teams that we play when we have solid pitching and good defense,” Richard said. “Kade Passman and Jake Cooper both have had their moments as our No. 1 pitcher. They’re like No. 1a and 1b for us.”
Richard also looks toward his team’s seniority to continue to lead them. He said he has four seniors, five juniors and a sophomore on his squad, most of which has played for him since little league.
“It makes thing easy for me,” he said. “There is not a whole lot now I can teach these kids they haven’t heard already. I’ve watched them grow since they were 8 or 9 years old. A lot of the things I tell them are repetitive, they know what to do, its just going out and executing it.”
The Wolves beat Harrisonburg 17-0 Tuesday, and must play them again at 4 p.m. in Monterey.