Simplicity is the name of the game.
With the regular season winding down, RB baseball coach Dan Monahan is readying his team for the regional match-up against St. Joe’s this week, but his main focus is keeping things simple.
“We have struggled this season, but I think one of the main problems has been making things too difficult,” he said. “The guys are starting to change their approach, but that is something the coaching staff is really going to focus on in the off season. I think if we change our approach and work on the mental side of the game, we will be much more successful.”
After falling to Westmont, 6-3, and St. Lawrence, 6-4, last week, RB (10-21, 6-9 Metro Sub. Confer.) cannot dwell on the past. Instead, the Bulldogs must focus on Thursday’s regional against St. Joe’s. If the Bulldogs win, they will face perennial powerhouse Lyons Township in the regional final on Saturday. The Bulldogs finished the season tied for second with Fenton and Monahan admits the absence of seven graduating seniors will be felt. No player will leave more of a dent in the RB lineup than pitcher and co-captain Tim LeBeau. LeBeau, who looks to be headed to St. Joseph’s College in Indiana on a baseball scholarship, has kept his ERA hovering around 2.0 throughout the season and is averaging less than one hit per inning. RB will also lose co-Captain. Mike Peloso, Kyle Kibbers, Hank Sitkiewicz, Cory Tone, Sean Cloherty and Tyler Gasaway.
“I really will miss this group of guys,” Monahan said. “They have all demonstrated a great work ethic and despite our struggles this season, they have been a pleasure to be around. I hope that their hustle and hard work rubs off on the underclassmen.”
Indeed, the junior class led by Marty Belchek in right field, Pat Cullen in centerfield, Robbie Frampton at third, Scott Osalka at short, and Dylan Krug at catcher will need to lead the Bulldogs next season. With 10 juniors returning to the Bulldog lineup next year, Monahan is feeling optimistic, but he is already making sure they are focused.
“There are 10 juniors returning, but I am stressing that they need to work hard because there are a lot of underclassmen who can take their job,” he said. “In terms of building the team, we finally have consistency in the coaching staff, which is a major step in developing a winning atmosphere. Also, we are moving to 3A next year, so we don’t have to play the bigger schools, so that is exciting as well. I think we have the talent; we just need to learn to focus it.”