Practicing for perfection

Platte-Valley Patriots work during pre-season practices for season ahead

After losing six seniors from last year’s lineup, the Platte Valley Patriots baseball team is ready to bounce back this season.

Junior Braxton Wentworth rounds third base and heads to home after a base hit from his teammate during his sophomore season. This season, Wentworth will be the lead-off hitter for the Platte Valley Patriots. (Maycee Hays)

“We have really good kids who have high character and care a lot about baseball,” head coach Shawn Emanuel said. “We feel we can pitch really well, so if we can make routine plays and put the ball in play, we should compete in every single game.”

Along with practicing fundamentals, the chemistry among the players will also help the Patriots to more wins.

“I’m most excited about the chemistry with the team because we’ve got a lot of good teammates,” senior Janson Pilkington said.

To prepare for the season, the Patriots took advantage of early season practices.

“We’ve been doing a lot of hitting and a lot of fielding work, and we’re just trying to get better every day,” junior Braxton Wentworth said.

The team’s first game was scheduled for mid-March, but the weather caused it to be postponed to a later date. The weather has been a significant factor for the Patriots so far this season. 

As the pitcher begins to throw the ball, junior Caleb Daniell gets in his stance to be ready to make a play. Daniell is the starting first baseman for the Patriots in the 2023 season. (Ginger Eikmeier)

“We’re mostly just trying to get as many live at-bats and fly ball reads as we can because practices have been cold and wet,” junior Zach Kennedy said. 

The players continue to overcome the rough weather during practices because of big games in the future. One game, in particular, is in their mind: playing Elkhorn North, the defending state champions, in April.

“We’re gonna have to really play really well because they’re the defending state champions, so they have most of their players back,” junior Caleb Daniell said. 

To manage all of their opponents, the Patriots are staying focused on their plan as a team, which will lead them to success.

“We feel if we can play the right way and act the right way, we should put ourselves in a great spot to win conference, win a district and compete in the state tournament,” Emanuel said.