Springwood enters first full year of Strickland era

Published 8:00 am Saturday, March 7, 2020

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After starting 0-8 to start the 2019 season, the Springwood baseball team found itself without its head coach, as he stepped away just eight games into the season. The Wildcats turned to David Strickland to lead the Wildcats. 

Even though the team won just four games the rest of the season, the Wildcats showed progress, which has continued to 2020.

“There wasn’t much that I wanted to change in the middle of the year because you’ve got kids that are aggravated because they’ve lost a coach, and now they would have to try into someone else,” Stickland said. “We started playing a little bit better but it really f started this offseason on what we’re trying to do.”

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Stickland, who played college baseball at Wallace State for a year, started to implement a system. He put his guys on the Jager long toss program, which strengthens a player’s arm by long tossing multiple times a week, and he started to get his team in the weight room more consistently. In weight training, he made sure the players were doing baseball-specific workouts, building strength and durability in their shoulders and elbows.

Stickland holds his players accountable, which wasn’t always a given in years past. He makes sure the players are on time for both practice and class. If they aren’t the team runs on Fridays. He is the same way on his players for their grades. If they slip up

“The accountability I hold them up to, they understand. They’ve had some time to learn what it really means, even last year kind of introducing it a little bit into the summer, I just don’t put up with the little stuff,” Strickland said.

The weather has caused problems for the Wildcats, as they have been forced to cancel 11 games because of rain. 

“We’re still in that kind of early-season mode where we’re trying to figure out what is our best group, what’s our best lineup in order to not just win games but to be consistent in games,” Strickland said.

In the last month, the Wildcats have practiced on their home field just two times. In order to get practice in, they’ve traveled to Valley, practicing at the Sports complex or throwing in parking lots just to get in some practice time.

“Now I’ve scuffed up a lot of baseballs doing it, but you have to pull out all the resources available.”

The Wildcats are back in action on Monday at 4:30 p.m.