-There’s hope for junior players
     2015-07-23      By Philip Eckerberg   
The Gering B&C Steel Junior Legion baseball team wrapped up the season last week at the B7 tournament in Gering. The juniors finished the season with a 16-22 record. They were 2-2 in the B7 tournament with their two losses coming against Ogallala. A shame, but proof that anything can happen come tourney time. During the season, Gering had a 2-1 record versus Ogallala.

Sixteen wins and 22 losses doesn’t add up to a stellar season, but sports are more than winning and losing. As the players realized sports can be lessons about life, which we know isn’t perfect. Sometimes you strikeout. Other times you get hit by a pitch. You will lose some and win some in life. You learn to accept defeat and move on to the next game or next season in your life. Not everyone gets to start and not everyone will be a star. Learning to deal with life’s ups and down starts on the sports fields and arenas.
A quick glimpse of the team reveals the team has great potential. First, let’s examine the coaching staff. First-year Head Coach Pat O’Boyle did a good job leading this group of young players. O’Boyle is fresh out of college and will be teaching this year. O’Boyle works well with the boys and serves as a good role model. O’Boyle has a big open door to the press, and, when called upon, is quick to give intelligent statements, thus serving as an example for coaches as well.

Rounding out the staff, Assistant Coach Zac Smith persevered throughout the season despite a devastating personal loss. Smith’s father, Gary Smith, died early in the season. No one would have blamed Smith if he had resigned, but he honored his commitment to the team, and continued to coach. Assistant Coach Grant Rimington kept a quiet demeanor, but filled in for O’Boyle on the rare occasion the head coach wasn’t available for comment.

Players made strides, too. There were 251 total hits and Dylan Radzymski led the way with 36 of them. No one went yard, but Chris Palomo racked up four triples during the tourney. The juniors scored approximately 253 runs altogether. Run leader Palomo reached home plate 37 times. Gering junior pitchers tallied 158 strikeouts. Topping another list, Palomo sent 54 batters back to the dugout.
Most likely, fans will see improved versions of these boys on next year’s senior team.

Seasons change. Soon many of team’s multi-sport athletes will be getting ready for football, cross country, and other fall activities with the start of school about a month away. Another spring is about nine months away. Then, there will be more baseball. More hopes. More dreams. A better season.

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