Baseball sets eyes on beating Park Hill on road to State

Phil Brennaman, J1 Reporter

Oak Park baseball is poised to have its best season of the decade, according to many players. Players and fans look forward to the start of the spring sport, seeing what is in store for likely  great season.

Sophomore Anthony Valadez was ecstatic about the start of the season.

“My goal this season is to improve on all of the little things, and up my numbers from last season.”

Last season ended on a heart-breaking note, losing in extra innings to Park Hill High School, who would go on to lose to Staley in the district championship.

Sophomore Kael Davis  hinted to that same notion.

“I want to beat Park Hill more than anyone else because they beat us by one run last year in the district semifinals and ended our season. I think our team will do very good in the postseason this year because of our finish in 2019, and we will have a chance to make it to state.”

Two of the incoming freshman, Karl Knaak and Austin Dahlberg, look forward to their first high school season, eagerly counting down the days until tryouts.

Knaak said, “I hope to play on JV but it is not up to me, I hope to show off my abilities to the coaches and see what he wants from me in return.”

Dahlberg said, “I hope to at least play JV as a freshman. I have played baseball all of my life and want to continue to do so while getting better.”

Some upperclassmen, junior Koby Russell and senior Hudson Leach, who had been through the process a couple years before talked about why they play the game, and what they hope to accomplish on the field.

Russell said, “I play this sport because I have played since I was three years old, and it has been my passion for years. I want to play this sport as long as my body and God allow.”

Senior Hudson Leach, four-year varsity athlete, was one of the most influential baseball players to pass through Oak Park.

Leach said, “I think our team has the potential to play very well in the post season. We could have a very strong pitching staff. Defense and pitching will be the main contributors to our postseason performance.”

These are the high hopes the Northmen carry. The official season starts at the end of February.