Marion High baseball coach Roger Schroeder is kicking off a rebuilding year, but he is happy one key project is finished.
He and several volunteers have installed nets and turf from the old Lawrence-Dumont Baseball Stadium in a corner of the old Saddle Club building, turning it into an indoor batting practice space for area teams.
The indoor batting cages have been a boon during bad weather.
“We needed that. It’s a great facility,” he said. “Now that it’s all said and done, I’m excited.”
A more complicated task this year is figuring out a batting order after a year with no baseball.
Just two of seven seniors who went out for Marion High this season played at the varsity level as sophomores — Seth Lanning and Braedon Mercer.
Both are fantastic athletes he can rely on to lend their experience to a young team, he said.
The remaining 12 are a “good young core” of underclassmen that he is eager to shepherd as they grow into their roles —when he can figure out what they will be.
“If I needed to do a lineup today, I would have to sit down for a while,” he said days before Marion’s first game. “It’s really going to be a struggle. We’ve had only two or three weeks of practice. I really have nothing to go on.”
He admits many teams are struggling to gain their bearings this year.
“We’re not different from anyone else,” he said. “No one got to play. We are all rebuilding, which I guess really is a unique situation.”
The tight scheduling of the spring sports’ season doesn’t give coaches much time to break in new players or get returning ones back up to speed.
Schroeder says he has been working on getting players’ throwing arms back into shape.
“It’s been a long time since they have touched a baseball,” he said. “We need to have them throwing enough to knock the rust off without overworking them too early.”
Schroeder expects to have a better grasp of his players’ strengths after they have some games under their belts.
“By the middle of April I should know who we are and how we are going to operate as a team,” he said.
The Warriors will face Trinity Catholic High School at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at home.