The last dredges of winter may be stubbornly clinging to baseball diamonds and dugout benches, but at Jamestown High School, the Varsity baseball season is already in full swing. This is thanks in large part to head coach Dave Roehmholdt, who, in his 19 years with Jamestown’s baseball program, has learned a thing or two about training in winters that overstay their welcome. His biggest piece of advice? Go south.
So that is exactly what his team has done: this week, the Red Raiders baseball team will be escaping to sunny Myrtle Beach to compete in the annual Mingo Bay Classic Baseball Tournament. Before packing up, Roehmholdt sat down with the Jamestown Gazette to discuss not only the team’s trip, but also the talent on this year’s roster and his biggest goals for the season.
Cortney: How is the group of boys on your team this year different than last year?
Roehmholdt: Well, we graduated quite a few seniors from last year’s team. We have a younger team this year, but they have quite a bit of experience. A couple of kids – even the juniors and sophomores – have been up on Varsity for at least a year. In the case of one, Andrew Pumford, he’s a junior and he’s been our catcher since he was a freshman. I also think we have a really decent pitching staff. Our top three will be Matt Hill (junior), Drew Boggs (sophomore), and Bryce Jackson (sophomore).
Cortney: What are some aspects of the game that you would like your team to improve upon this season?
Roehmholdt: One of our messages throughout the indoor practices we’ve had is to compete every pitch. That’s what we’ve been telling them. We want them to get in the mentality of treating the first inning the same as the last inning, a close game the same as a blow-out. They should just be in that pitch, whether they’re up to bat, on deck, on the bench, or in the field. We just want them to be ready to compete on every single pitch and let the game come to them.
Cortney: You guys are preparing to leave for the Mingo Bay Classic Baseball Tournament in Myrtle Beach. How does this tournament help strengthen your team?
Roehmholdt: Well, first of all, this time of year in New York it’s often difficult to get in the field. Yesterday was only our third time on a field. So we go down south and we know we’re going to play, we know we’re going to have a field to practice on everyday. That’s a huge benefit. It also helps bring the team together. We all stay in the same complex and the boys hang out a lot off the field. It just builds the team morale. This year will be our 12th trip down; we’ve gone to this tournament all but two years that I’ve coached Varsity.
Cortney: Big picture: what are your season goals?
Roehmholdt: I don’t like to predict records or anything, but like I said before, we want them to compete every game and get better every game. We want them to improve in some way – individually and as a team – every time we take the field.
To read more of Cortney Linnecke’s creative and informative contributions to the Jamestown Gazette, please go to www.jamestowngazette.com.