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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 26, 2009

New line up and new mindset for BKW baseball

By Jordan J. Michael

BERNE –– The Bulldog baseball team is putting the ills of last season to rest.

“We have a completely new group of players this year and that’s the biggest difference,” said 20-year Head Coach Jeff Teats. “There is a whole new mindset floating around. Some players from last year thought they could just show up and play. Now, they understand the game better and understand what needs to happen for success.”

BKW finished far below .500 last year with seven wins. Teats never saw much commitment from the 2008 team. “There were some guys that weren’t getting along,” he said. “If a team wants to win, everyone needs to get along.”

Two of the five seniors on this year’s team didn’t play baseball last year. Six or seven players on the 13-man roster have participated in off-season baseball leagues.

“I’m seeing a lot of passion from the guys that play summer ball,” Teats said at practice on Monday. “The kids that didn’t play last year won’t see much time, but they might add something new to the equation.”

“Summer ball exposes players to more situations,” said Teats. “I know that the guys who play summer ball will be more comfortable and responsive. I’m not worried about them.”

A handful of Bulldogs played well for the successful junior-varsity program last year. Teats is interested to see how the players adapt to the varsity level. “The caliber of each player is going to be different,” he said. “I don’t want them to get all wrapped up in the stress of the game. Just go play the game for what it is –– fundamentals.”

BKW will have plenty of speed on the bases and four pitchers who throw solid strikes. Steve Yakel, Brett Flansburg, Alon Willing, Josh Rebeor, Paolo Audino, and Brandon Galgay will be on the mound.

“Josh Skinner threw really well for us last year, but he won’t be hard to replace,” said Teats. “Flansburg and Galgay are talented sophomores and Audino and Rebeor dominated on junior varsity last year. Willing and Yakel come up as sophomores as well. The pitching will be much more versatile.”

Michael Galgay, Korey Mann, Pat Stanton, Andrew Cortese, and Andrew Liddane are returning for the Bulldogs. Teats told The Enterprise that Michael Galgay is a predominant catcher, but can play anywhere. “He’ll do anything asked of him and then some,” he said.

Day by day

Coach Teats is working the defense hard in practice because he does not want to see the troubles of last year continue. He has been running the players through all types of infield scenarios.

“Defense is mostly just a game situation, so I’m trying to duplicate that in practice,” Teats said. “We worked on defense for three straight days outside last week. We had 45-minute sessions of ground balls to the infielders. It gave me an indication of flexibility on the team and where these kids belong on the field.”

The Bulldogs haven’t established solid captainship because of the new roster. Teats believes that leadership takes care of itself.

“As the season moves on, certain players will start to rise up and become leaders of this team,” said Teats. “Some people are leaders by nature and some of my younger players are ready because they know more about the game. I think everyone is in this together and here for a reason.”

Canajoharie, Spa Catholic, and Fonda will again be the usual teams to beat in the Western Athletic Conference. “We always seem to play well against those clubs,” Teats said. “We can surprise some people.”

BKW’s first game is away at Voorheesville on Tuesday, March 31. It’s a non-league match up.

“This game is all about fundamentals and we can’t go out there and beat ourselves,” concluded Teats. “If we play sound defense, throw plenty of strikes, and put the ball in play; we’ll do well. More games are lost than won.”

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