Eagles look to take it up a notch in 2016
ARLINGTON >> Last season, the Arlington Memorial High School baseball team played its first varsity season after taking the 2014 year off due to low numbers and had to start their team from scratch.
Now in 2016, the Eagles come into the season with a roster of 16 players and look to make improvements on the strides forward they made last season.
"We have a lot of talented and very committed bunch of kids on our team this season," said Arlington coach Tim Stewart. "Last year most our team was playing baseball for the first time ever or since their youth days, so a lot them got some great experience playing last year and they all are much improved going into this season."
Arlington has most of its team back from last season, including captains Sean O'Dell and Jared Lacoste.
O'Dell is the lone senior on the Arlington squad this season and is one of the players with the most experience playing baseball on the squad.
With ability to play multiple positions in the field and his love of the game, O'Dell has been a key player in getting the Arlington program going again.
"Last year I worked hard to help the program get going again and I'm just really happy to be getting the chance to play baseball for another season," O'Dell said. "I think we have good team this year and I'm going to do anything I can from my play on the field to being a leader for the younger guys to help the team win and keep the program growing."
Lacoste, on the other hand, is not as experienced in baseball as O'Dell is.
In fact, last season was the first time ever that Lacoste played baseball since his youth, but with his great athletic ability that he has shown on the soccer field and basketball court, the junior made a smooth transition into baseball and became the Eagles' starting shortstop.
"I just love playing and competing in sports and I wanted to try to play baseball again and I am happy I did," Lacoste said. "I really enjoy playing on the field with the group of guys we have on the team and I am excited to see how we do this year after getting back into the swing of things last season."
Not only will Lacoste be the Eagles' starting shortstop, but has worked on becoming an arm in the Arlington rotation, picking up pitching in the offseason.
Also returning for Arlington this season is freshman Jack Lane after having a productive season last year as an eighth grader.
Lane will be one of the top pitchers in the Eagles pitching rotation and one of the team's top hitters too.
"I'm really excited to see how the team and myself will do this year," Lane said. "A lot of us have worked hard in the offseason to get better and I think we're ready to make the next step in our progression as team this year."
Junior Darren Golden is another returning player for Arlington, who will man center field for the Eagles again in 2016.
Other players that are expected to play key roles as newcomers to the squad this year are sophomore Bailey Cross and freshman Will Stewart and both add depth and talent.
Now, the Eagles are ready to compete in Division IV and make the playoffs this season, while reaching the team's goal of being .500 record or better by the year's end.
"We have to continue to take our progression one day at time, but we do have a team that can be very competitive this season," Stewart said. "I want to see us compete and go after teams more this year and I want to continue to see the excitement the kids have grow throughout the year. With our great team chemistry, talent and being more experienced this season, I think we can do some fun things this year."
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.