Baseball team readies for new season, new field


In their second game on the new field, senior shortstop Hunter Wood attempts to throw a Shiloh runner out to senior first baseman Todd Girdner. The Wildcats lost to the Saints 11-1 on March 13.

As basketball comes to an end, the Har-Ber baseball team works to prepare for this coming season. This year, former pitching coach Dustin Helmkamp has stepped up to the batter’s plate as the new head coach. According to junior centerfielder and pitcher Walker Immel, Helmkamp is very similar to former coach,  Ron Bradley. Helmkamp already knew the ins and outs of the team because of his former job as pitching coach and is using those for the betterment of the team, according to Immel. The coaching staff also added Houston Pruitt to the coaching staff as assistant coach. In the short period of time, Pruitt has already made his mark on the players, such as junor first baseman, Blake Gibson. 

“Coach Pruitt is one of a kind. He loves his sunflower seeds and his baseball. He always looks to put a smile on peoples’ faces and help them in any way,” said Gibson

However, others such as senior shortstop Hunter Wood had a preexisting bond with Pruitt. 

“He’s really special to my class because most of us played on a travel team that he coaches for, so we’ve been around him since we were 12,” Wood said. “He played for my dad here so I mean he’s been one of my heroes in life since I can remember.” 

Both coaches have used these past relationships to build the team up on and off the field, according to senior infielder Todd Girdner. 

“They really care for the players and they really build a lot of team chemistry,”  Girdner said. 

According to senior pitcher Charlie Acuff, the team has been more inclusive throughout classes than ever before. 

“In the past, the upperclassmen haven’t been very inclusive, but we’ve been very inclusive with our younger guys and I think our team chemistry is very good, “ Acuff said.

Not only is there a change to the coaching staff, but many new faces on the team. According to Girdner, the team has brought in around twenty new players.

“They’ve really done their job on the team. They help out in any way they can, “ Girdner said.

Along with a new group of sophomores, there is a vast amount of returning starters, according to Immel. Coaches are still in the process of filling the positions that graduated last year, such as pitchers Blake Adams and Landon McCallister. Although these were key players last season, Cooper Dossett and Charlie Acuff are working hard to step up to the plate, or in this case, the pitchers mound and continue the alumnies’ legacies. 

“I feel like it’s going to be a great season. I feel like one thing that we have that maybe teams haven’t had in the past is chemistry,” said Acuff.