May 24—Don’t make the same mistakes twice.
Luke Norden feels that is the key as Mitchell transfers from the high school season to Legion baseball this week. The Kernels went 16-13 during the spring season, but lost five games by two runs or less, including a 4-3 loss to O’Gorman in the Class A region tournament Saturday.
Norden knows Post 18 will have miscues this summer. It happens. But if they can avoid repeating the same mistakes, he believes some of those tight losses will transform into wins during the summer season, which begins in a doubleheader against Sturgis at 4 p.m. Friday at Cadwell Park.
“We just want to be able to look at those games during the spring and say, ‘This is what we needed to fix, let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again,'” Norden said. “That way we don’t have games during the summer where we say, ‘Well, we should have won that game.’ Playing 29 games is kind of a spring training of sorts to get ready and learn about ourselves for the summer.”
Following a walk-off loss to end the spring season, Mitchell is glad to return to Legion play less than a week later. It is essentially the same squad, with the additions of Brady Brosz and Ryan McGinnis — who graduated last year and still fit under the Legion 19-and-under age restrictions — along with Parkston’s Ty Neugebauer.
Although Mitchell is ready to get right back onto the field, Norden does not want his team to forget the mistakes made in the past, but continue to learn from them.
“We’re not going to be where we want to be at the end of the year unless we have those failures and we learn from them,” Norden said. “Through all of the mishaps, I think they’ve really learned from those experiences and we’ll continue to learn from those things and it’s just going to make us better toward the end of the season.”
Mitchell is hoping the switch from wood bats to metal bats during the Legion season will cure some miscues at the plate. During the spring, Mitchell went 4-7 in games it registered five hits or less. The Kernels also struck out 184 times and walked 115, while opponents had 165 strikeouts and 123 walks.
Seven players hit .300 or better during the spring — including Jonah Schmidt’s .402 and 28 RBIs — and Norden believes switching to metal bats will help increase those numbers because players feel more comfortable.
Mitchell’s .296 average was higher than each of the previous three spring squads, but it has also raised its batting average 25.7 points from spring to Legion season during that span.
“It’s more of a mental thing and it’s something new that guys look forward to,” Norden said. “You’re always looking for something to be excited about as a player — going to different tournaments and different fields. I think that’s the main thing about (metal bats).”