Over the next month, the Adrian Athletic Department will highlight and celebrate each of the spring sports it offers. The information and player spotlights will be provided by the program’s head coach. The second installment is the Maple Baseball program and Coach Kyle Johnson:
Well, the start of my head coaching career is off to a unique start. Sadly, we were not able to play ball this year. We are losing 6 seniors this season. 3 of our seniors were returning Varsity Maple Baseball players. Cole Hayes, Devon Roberts, and Collin Hicks. Our 3 other seniors in the program were Cam Seagraves, Baylor Hughes, and Omar Firdous. I wish these young men were able to play their final seasons as Adrian Maples but unfortunately that will not be the case. I know these young men will go on to be successful as they demonstrated strong character and work ethic within our program.
As a team, I was not really sure what to expect. Baseball is a streaky sport. Teams with the best talent don’t always win. Team chemistry, hustle, confidence, and support all play important roles in a successful baseball team. This is what I felt our team embodied the most. They have good chemistry. They were able to have fun as well as hold each other accountable. The SEC is a tough conference to compete in. I imagine we would’ve had around a .500 record. This year we were going to be slim on pitching, our returning pitchers were Cole Hayes, Zach Thompson, and Connor Davies. We were looking forward to seeing some young arms step up with guys like Jeremiah Burciaga, Brendan Howard, and Cam Nieto.
A preview of what could’ve been for the Maples.
- Connor Davies would have been our first basemen/pitcher/outfielder. I expect big things from Connor next year. He loves the game and works hard. He is also our lone lefty pitcher which allows us to give opposing teams a different look.
- Middle infield play would be made up of Baylor Hughes, and Brendan Howard. Baylor most likely would’ve been our starting shortstop. He was a senior leader with good hands. I was excited to see what he could do there. Brendan Howard is a versatile young player. Last year, he played some 3rd base, and shortstop for us. I imagined him being able to move throughout the infield this year and more than likely start at 2nd base.
- 3rd base would have consisted of Jerimiah Burciaga and Cam Nieto. Jeremiah Burciaga was returning to the Maple baseball program this year and despite not playing much 3rd base, he has great instincts and hands. He strives to improve and undoubtedly will help our program next year. Cam Nieto was our lone freshman called up this year. Cam has great athleticism and was going to be very versatile for us this season. I imagined him playing 3rd base, catcher, pitcher, and outfield. His hustle and competitiveness makes him a great young player.
- Catching for the Maples would have been senior Devon Roberts. Devon is a great ball player. He is the lone catcher in our program at the moment. Despite being one of the most grueling positions on the field, Devon never complains. He catches many innings for us and would’ve had a great senior year. He is a consistent hitter and smart baseball player. He will be missed.
- Our outfield would have consisted of Cole Hayes, Collin Hicks, and Zach Thompson. Keesean Rojo-Ross, Cam Seagraves, and Omar Firdous would have seen ample time in the outfield as well. Cole Hayes would have been our Ace on staff and a leader in the outfield. He has great speed and a strong arm. He would’ve had a very successful season on the mound for the Maples. Collin Hicks would have been the starting center fielder as well as play some first base when Davies pitched. Collin was a strong stick at the plate. He drives the ball well to the opposite field and is able to run down fly balls in the outfield. Zach Thompson would have played left field as well as seen a lot of innings on the mound. Zach works extremely hard and did an outstanding job with attending our winter workouts. I look forward to seeing Zach back next season to have a great senior year. Keesean Rojo Ross was going to help add some speed to our lineup. He would be dual-sporting both baseball and track. Keesean is a great hustle player and can give our team a needed spark. Cam Seagraves is a new returner for the Maples. He played before and recently came out for his senior year. He worked hard for us and was showing a lot of improvement in practice. Omar Firdous was a new student at Adrian High School this year. He was polite and hard working. Unfortunately, I was unable to ever see him play a game but appreciate his hard work and attitude at practice.
The 2020 season did not workout the way we all would have liked but there are a lot of positives going forward. Thank you to our seniors for all their contributions to our programs at Adrian High School. I will continue to support you in whatever ways you need. For our underclassmen, the work does not stop. You can always improve. Be safe and continue to work on your craft. If you need anything from me during this break please reach out. If you are playing on a summer baseball team, please send me your schedules. I would like to go and support you. I look forward to coaching you all again next year, as always, GO MAPLES!