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Varsity baseball team faces major cuts

Questions raised regarding value of seniority

Junior+Thomas+Helean+strokes+a+single+into+right+field+against+Roosevelt.+Helean+had+a+hit+and+scored+a+run%2C+as+the+Beavers+beat+the+Roughriders%2C+4-2.
Junior Thomas Helean strokes a single into right field against Roosevelt. Helean had a hit and scored a run, as the Beavers beat the Roughriders, 4-2.

Junior Thomas Helean strokes a single into right field against Roosevelt. Helean had a hit and scored a run, as the Beavers beat the Roughriders, 4-2.

Camryn Miles

Camryn Miles

Junior Thomas Helean strokes a single into right field against Roosevelt. Helean had a hit and scored a run, as the Beavers beat the Roughriders, 4-2.

Melina Monlux and Rachel Halmrast

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This baseball season, the varsity team underwent a dramatic change in their roster’s size and specific players. Seven seniors were cut after tryouts, three of whom were on the varsity team the previous year.  Of those seniors, one was previously a starter.  This decision was met with animosity from both sides, and called into question the value of seniority.

“It wasn’t necessarily something that we wanted to happen, because we like them, and they were good players, but we have a lot of young kids that are really good and that throw really hard, so, I don’t know, it’s tough, it’s a tough situation,” senior Captain Connor Mount said.

“I can say with experience that there is no coach on the planet who would not consider making cuts the worst part of the job,” Athletic Director Jason Thurston said. “It doesn’t matter what sport, what state, what anything. When you know what a sport can do for a young man or a young woman and you want everything you can to let them experience what it can be, but sometimes your hands are tied and you’re going, ‘I only have so many slots.’”

The captains were sad to see their teammates go, but remain confident that the team is strong this year. “As a team, I think we are better this year.  That doesn’t necessarily reflect that because they got cut we’re better, it’s just as a team,” Mount said. “We’re all working together every day.  It’s not like the guys who are there now don’t deserve it.”

For them, the decision to cut the seniors was fairly black and white. “I think the coach just wanted to put the best guys on the roster, and that’s just who he felt were the best guys,” senior Captain Aidan Welch said. “Guys outworked them for their spots.”

The priorities of the captains and coach are very much in line when it comes to the value of skill versus seniority.

“Our coach definitely prioritizes winning,” Welch said. “Which is how it should be,” Mount added.

However, for those seniors who lost their spots this year, the rationale didn’t quite add up.

“The reason he gave us is that we weren’t ‘bought in’ or ‘committed,’ which didn’t really make sense because we had shown up to everything and we had been on the team last year,” a senior said, requesting anonymity. “[The coach] definitely is concerned with winning. [The cut] wasn’t from a skills standpoint, speaking for [other players] and I, we would have helped the team, based on our past stats.”

Those who were cut were not the only ones to question the decision.  “For some cuts yes, [they were justified], for others no. Some were for goofing around and lack of commitment.  Especially for like [name withheld], Doug [coach] told him that he just had a lack of commitment when he showed up for like every winter workout,” said a player currently on the varsity team who also requested to remain anonymous.  “For [yet another player], he told him he had a lack of talent, but he’s a pitcher, and when he was pitching, Doug wasn’t even paying attention.  So, I don’t know how he knew he had a lack of talent when he wasn’t even watching.”

Coach Montgomery was unresponsive to the Talisman’s request for an interview.

For some, the cuts seemed to be less about skill and more about relationships.  “[The coach] sort of picks favorites and he’ll help them out, but other people he will just blow off completely, which I think is sort of weird,” the player said.

“The kids he favors aren’t necessarily strong skill-wise but they are definitely more supportive than others. He definitely didn’t favor those who got cut. At all.””

— Anonymous player

“We never addressed it,” the player who was cut said, “but it was definitely like I didn’t agree with his decisions and he knew it, and I don’t think he wants outstanding disagreements on his team.”

The captains, however, feel that this is just a part of being on a competitive team.  “Unfortunately that’s part of it, if you have a bad relationship with the coach it doesn’t play in your favor, but I don’t think it would have been the main reason,” Mount said.

Although the motivation for the cuts remains somewhat ambiguous, Thurston urges those with concerns to address them. “Communication is the most important thing,” he said. “If there are questions that are still out there, approach the people that makes those decisions and sit down respectfully with them and ask. You’re not gonna agree with every decision that your boss makes or people that are in your life make, but have the ability to sit down and say ‘Could you explain the decision to me, so that I can use it for growth.’”

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Varsity baseball team faces major cuts