Several new faces will hit the diamond for the Hays Rebels as they vie for a return to the postseason.
James Howard, Hays baseball head coach, said expectations at Hays always center around making the playoffs. However, Howard said the team is setting its eyes on much more.
“I think our goal this year is to kind of make a deeper run into the playoffs, not just be satisfied by making the playoffs,” Howard said. “If there is something we really want to improve on is to extend our season past that first round of playoffs.”
While Hays graduated several key offensive cogs last year, the Rebels return with a plethora of juniors who have tasted success.
Two years ago, the current crop of juniors went 21-2 in their junior varsity season. Howard said they are a great group of guys and he’s excited to see what they come up with.
“There is a lot of talent there and I am really looking forward to our group of juniors that are coming up,” Howard said. “I know they have big shoes to fill, but they are a hard-working group and they are fun to be around; they love the game of baseball.”
Still early into the preseason, the Rebels are working on improving their pitching. In their first scrimmage this season, Howard said the pitching looked strong and he believes it can hold up.
If the pitching is strong, the rest of the team falls into place.
“I think that if our pitching holds up, defensively we are going to be pretty good,” Howard said. “We are always working on our hitting. We have some guys that can swing it a little bit, but we just need to make sure that we are being consistent.”
Hays will contend in a competitive 25-6A field that features perennial powerhouses in Lake Travis and Westlake, along with Vista Ridge and Vandegrift.
Howard said his team is going to get out there and work and get out there and hustle, and with that determination, anything is possible for the Rebels this season.
“I definitely think that we have the group that is talented enough to do that, they are a hard-working group,” Howard said. “I think that’s something that this group has really bought into and every day you see it in practices. These guys are working extremely hard to work at our goals.”