New coach looks to strengthen future teams


Courtesy Molly O'Brien

The high school varsity baseball team gathers for a team photo. The team had to overcome many challenges this year, such as low numbers and no school diamond.

The baseball team has had a challenging season, but a new era has begun as they have brought in a new varsity head coach. Whenever a new coach comes into a program it might take a few years to find success and build a winning team.

Sam Keller, varsity head coach, mentioned that he arrived in Shorewood with a team that was willing to put in the work in order to win, and that was something special about the team.

“They’re hungry for success and I come from programs that are winning programs and that’s what they want,” Keller said. “It’s not what they expect, it’s what they want. So they try as hard as they possibly can to get that. I think that’s what makes Shorewood different, for sure.”

They’re hungry for success and I come from programs that are winning programs and that’s what they want

— Sam Keller, varsity head coach

Keller has a different coaching style than most of the players were used to coming into this season. Eli Keyes, senior, mentioned that the new coaching approach will help this team in the future.

“I think the new coaching staff also helps discipline the younger guys as well, and [are] more hands on,” Keyes said. “I think starting at a young age, being more disciplined will help the team build in the upcoming years.”

A goal for Keller coming into the season was to ultimately coach the players so that they will want to come back for another season next year and years to come after that. 

“At the beginning of the season my goal was to establish what I want Shorewood baseball to look like. Establish a solid base, a foundation,” Keller said. “I want the guys to fall in love with the game. That’s the goal and focus for sure this year.” 

There were low numbers for varsity right off the bat which caused a few of the JV players to come and play up.

“On the varsity level we have brought up a few freshman. We have a few guys who have made some appearances,” Keller said. “These are the young guys that are going to be the future of the program. Kind of throw them in the fire right away to get them some varsity experience.” 

Aaron Eimers, senior, is also expecting a successful season in the future due to this upbringing of talent.

“The next couple of years, they’re gonna be a force to be reckoned with,” Eimers said.

Though this is great for years to come, he wishes that there would have been more experienced players on the team this season. Right now, there are only three seniors on the team, which was one of the team’s biggest challenges.

“Main challenges are we only have three seniors … We’re at a disadvantage with a bunch of younger guys. But they really performed well this year,” Eimers said.

Colin Furtsch, sophomore, agrees that the lack of upperclassmen, especially seniors, is affecting the team.

“On varsity we just need more role players,” Furtsch said

There has been success so far, despite all of the struggles. Alex Fitch, freshman, pitched a perfect game, which gave the varsity team it’s first win.

Fitch was brought up from JV, where he has played almost all of the season.

“I was pitching for JV a lot too, so they thought they would bring me up for a game I guess,” Fitch said. 

During the game, he wasn’t aware of the low amount of pitches he was throwing. There is a certain amount of pitches a player can pitch before the coaches have to pull the pitcher out.

“I didn’t have a very high pitch count, so they just kept throwing me,” Fitch said. “I didn’t know that I had thrown a perfect game even after [the game] ended, until everyone told me.”

He gives much deserved credit to the players behind him in the field.

“It wasn’t that I was pitching that great, it’s just that the varsity [players] make so many plays,” Fitch said, “I just kept throwing it right down the middle, they’d hit, and then they’d catch it… It was a lot of luck.”

The biggest setback that the team faces, which could be leading to their struggle, is the lack of a baseball field at Shorewood High School. Furtsch explains what they do instead.

“We practice either in the arena or the north gym. Occasionally, not very often, we practice at the softball field,” Furtsch said, “Or we go out, about a 20 minute drive, to a place called the dog pound, which is the Rockhounds’s field.”

The softball field is good, like Furtsch said, for occasional practice, but is too small to play a baseball game.

“We need to get a field. We need to get a field for these next couple of years. Unfortunately, there is no space on this campus,” Eimers said. 

We need to get a field for these next couple of years. Unfortunately, there is no space on this campus.

— Aaron Eimers, senior

Furtsch wishes the administration could put more money into the team and a field.

“I feel like it wouldn’t be that hard to fund a little bit of money at least starting a project for a baseball field,” Furtsch said. 

Eimers promotes increasing support for the team, but understands the low turnout for games. 

“It’s tough. Although we do get somewhat decent fan support, we really don’t get a lot (and I don’t blame them), cause our home games are 15 minutes away,” Eimers said. “It’d just be way easier if we had a nice, close field, where everyone knew where the game was.”