MANCHESTER — After a year away from the diamond, Burr and Burton baseball coach Ed Lewicki says his players are glad to be back.
“Just to see them out here is rewarding. They are awfully excited,” Lewicki said.
It’s a challenging and unique circumstance for today’s athletes.
“These kids are doing something that none of us had to do which was live, go through high school (and) go through high school sports in a pandemic.”
The lost 2020 season has a trickle-down pattern on both players and coaches. For the athletes themselves, they have to take the opening days of the spring sports season to regain their timing and spend more time on the fundamentals.
Then there’s the coaches, which are forced to make difficult decisions regarding rosters while only seeing a few days of play. Lewicki said there are only two returning players from the 2019 Bulldogs squawd. With over 20 players on the diamond Thursday afternoon, it’s putting a lot of pressure on coaching staffs to make quick decisions.
“A lot of new faces,” Lewicki said. “A lot of new kids to the school, a lot of new kids to the coaching staff and I.”
Junior varsity play typically assists coaching staffs in gaining familiarity with players within the program. With no 2020 season, all freshmen and sophomores are completely new to the BBA program.
BBA will have a team that isn’t as experienced as years past. It will be a different challenge for Lewicki, who has been at the helm of Bulldogs baseball since 2016.
“They are young,” Lewicki said. “We had the luxury during our first four years and then our off year of having a lot of older kids through the program and always only needing a handful of kids each year to fill the roster. This year we’re filling the roster with probably 13 (or) 14 kids.”
At the end of the day, Lewicki says its about the lessons learned through playing sports that is the most valuable.
“We’ve taught some kids some valuable lessons through sports which is more important,” Lewicki said.
The Bulldogs will begin its season with a road matchup against Essex April 17 at 12 p.m.