Lehman High head baseball coach Toby Robinson has one over-arching goal for the 2017 season, an edict for his team to aspire to.
“To learn from our mistakes,” Robinson said.
In his words, last year’s team was plagued by the same ills; errors, poor pitch judgment and passive play at the plate.
“Last year we didn’t learn from our mistakes,” Robinson said. “We kept making the same ones over and over. The results showed.”
The result was another losing season for Lehman, which followed its 8-15-1 campaign in 2015 with a 5-21-1 record last year.
Three years ago, under Robinson’s tutelage, Lehman finished 17-9 overall and 7-8 in the district standings.
The last two seasons resulted in nearly three times as many losses (36) as wins (13).
“Now they know last year could’ve been a lot better and the year before could’ve been a lot better,” Robinson said. “We have a lot of high goals and expectations this season.”
But Robinson’s expectations haven’t been tempered by two consecutive losing seasons, in which the Lobos were at the basement of the district.
Rather, he points to the team’s six losses in games decided by two runs or fewer as a correctable and realistic benchmark to improve upon this season.
“How many more games could’ve been wins, if just little things were different?” Robinson said. “(We) lost a lot of games by one run that we did to ourselves. If we control that and handle our business, those games will be a different way this year.”
Robinson will lean on Dillon Ramirez, Luke Stanaland and Jameson Castillo, each three-year starters at the varsity level, for stability. He values their experience, too, even if the past two seasons didn’t go as planned.
“They are very coachable this year,” Robinson said. “Sometimes you have kids that you try to help them, and they feel like they know what’s going on and they don’t need help, it’s hard to get them back on track. The guys we have right now are coachable and ask a lot of questions.”
Much of the team’s focus is on making routine plays look, well, routine.
Inconsistency in those areas, Robinson believes, is a direct correlation to losing baseball games.
The early fruits of this labor are three wins in three games. Lehman scored 18 runs in a win over San Marcos, eight runs in a win over McCallum and eight runs in a win over Alamo Heights.
“They have a sure fire,” Robinson said. “They don’t wanna lose.”
Which brings us to Robinson’s other goal this season.
“To win,” Robinson said.