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Westside baseball faced tough schedule this season
May 18, 2023
The Warrior varsity baseball season has come to a close after a loss in the A-1 District tournament at Millard West on Saturday, May 6. The 2-0 loss came in the first round of the tournament to the No. 2 seed Lincoln Southeast.
Westside’s season was no cake walk, having the sixth hardest schedule in the state. The Warriors played seven of the eight state tournament teams, including the top seed Millard West and the No. 3 seed Elkhorn South both twice. Of the nine games against state tournament teams the Warriors won two, one against the No. 4 seed Gretna, 8-6, and the other against Bellevue West, 2-1. Through all the tough games the Warriors pulled out 13 wins in the regular season finishing with a record of 13-14 on the season. Head coach Otis Seals reflected on his fourth year in the dugout with the Warriors.
“It was a tough season,” Seals said. “Obviously it was a tough schedule, and I want it to be that way. We want to play the best teams and there’s nothing wrong with that. I thought for the most part the kids battled through all the tough stuff, to the point that they were still fighting hard and winning games at the end of the year.”
The Warriors had a great season on the mound, with four pitchers under an ERA of three. Senior Jackson Gutta led the team with 1.27 ERA in 44 innings pitched. The Warriors got a great outing from Junior Jay Coughlin in the district tournament game, pitching a complete game, giving up only two runs.
“Jay Coughlin threw a really really good game against a good southeast team,” Seals said. “I thought we pitched really well. When you look at the statistics of our pitching I thought that was one of our strong suits and a lot of the games that we did lose by one or two runs were really good pitching performances.”
Westside really struggled with hitting this season, having only two hitters with a hitting percentage of .300 or better, and a team average of .255. The Warriors had 10 regular season games with two runs or less and another in the district tournament scoring none. When the team was able to get hits, scoring at least three runs the team went 9-5. Leaving runners on base was a direct reflection when the team struggled to drive in runs.
“I thought that was the thing we struggled with the most,” Seals said. “I thought we did hit okay for the most part, and then we really did miss big hits in key times. So that’s something we worked on quite a bit and it just didn’t come through sometimes and so that was frustrating for everybody.”
The team believes this season is something to build on, but ten seniors graduating will really hurt the Warriors. The leadership from those seniors will be missed. But the hope is those seniors set up the younger players for success in the future. The team had some large contributions from sophomores and juniors. The sophomores Jack Schulz and Nikola French combined for 37 hits at the plate.
“We work hard in the offseason, meeting with the prospective team and the seniors about leadership and things throughout the year,” Seals said. “Despite the challenges this season regarding hitting or injuries or whatever, our seniors really were good players to look to and help keep us from not getting too high during highs and too low during the lows.”
Moving past this season the Warriors will say thank you to the seniors and look to push this season out the door and bounce back next season. Westside will continue to play baseball this summer, with the first game on May 23.