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Hitting It Out of The Park

Posted 05/15/2023 by Makayla Vasquez

Coach Baughn talks to pitcher Max Hauer and catcher Sloan Steimel on the mound before the next play. photo by Makayla Vasquez 

As the TJ baseball season comes to an end, the team and its head coach reflect on the ups and downs of this competitive sport.  

TJ’s 2022-23 baseball season is in full swing for another competitive season. The team has been on a rollercoaster of ups and downs, with a record of seventeen wins and six losses. More than halfway through the season, the team strives to continue to progress and bring home more wins with the guarantee  of playoffs as the season comes to an end. 

The start of a new season brings along new players and experience. Head Coach Graham Baughn says that compared to last year, they have “lost a lot of experience. Much of this year’s team has not played on the Varsity level before.” Even though they have had a rough season, most of the season has been spent trying to see who should start where and at what level. The little experience the team has playing on Varsity has hindered their ability to see the outcome they wanted, not just winning games but playing as a team and for one another. With a record of 18-7 from last year’s season, there is a noticeable gap between teams compared to last year and this year. However, this is a young varsity team, consisting of only six seniors, and only a few played on varsity last year.  As the season progresses, the team is learning what works best and how to strengthen their playing together. Baughn’s biggest expectation is for the team to work together and learn from their mistakes. They are focusing on “being mentally prepared to do what’s needed in the moment, and trying not to think too much about what happened in the previous play or inning or what will happen in the future.” 

While they all have their own expectations for themselves and the team as a whole, they are in agreement that the team is big on working together and supporting each other, especially through the challenges. “There is a lot of team building and pressure to maintain a team environment because you suffer when you’re not collaborating,” said senior Henry Shukert. Baughn has been coaching for thirteen years, eight of which have been here at TJ. The reason he has chosen to stay with TJ so long is because “being a part of the team means a lot.” Junior Sloan Steimel has been playing on TJ’s Varsity team since the start of his freshman year. Baseball, to him, is “a nice time to hang out with friends and play a game we all love.” Building relationships with teammates is a major part of playing ball, and TJ’s team is really progressing in that category as seen by the last few wins they have brought home. Every play is different and players need to be ready for anything and everything to happen and be able to think fast in the moment. 

Already having a good win/loss record, and ranking 2nd in the 5Aa/4A Denver Prep League, the boys are headed to the playoffs! The team looks like it will have some successful seasons in the near future – many younger players are already playing on the varsity level, and look to improve their skill and experience in the future. 

Link to a Denver Post article about Coach Baughn