Staley ended Liberty baseball’s season May 22 with a 3-1 victory in the state sectional round at Liberty High School. However, no one had any reason to be downtrodden on the Liberty baseball team. They ended a stellar season with a 28-7 record.
The varsity team had a mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores. The seniors, led by Coach Kirk Bragg’s son, Braxton, also included Drake Persinger, Brady Littrell, Jacob Selock, Cooper Schechinger, Jack Shultz, Jordan Carlson, Ethan Hill and Drew Mackie.
Kirk said most of the players have grown up together. At the Staley game, the coach talked about coaching this group for the final time.
“It is all very emotional,” he said. “It is something as a coach that I have been building my chapter towards, something that I wanted to get these guys in the position to compete the best they could. I felt like we did that. We just ran into a team (Staley) that I felt like we could compete against.”
The coach said the entire team is close. “Everyone knew their roles. We had some kids that were in some tough roles, and usually on teams guys question why they are only getting one at-bat but no one really did. It is just a credit to everyone,” he said. “It was just a complete team and it was really fun to be around these guys.”
Several sophomores and juniors will continue on next year. Kirk said he was happy to play the caliber of sophomores he had.
“It seemed like it did not matter what age they were, they just went out and competed during their opportunities and that is all you can really ask,” he said.
The coach said he felt like if Liberty could have beat Staley in sectionals, Liberty could have made it to final four. While the season felt cut short, the 28 wins are some comfort to the coaches and team.
“I have done this too many years and I really don’t look at maybe the wins and losses of the group,” Kirk said. “Liberty has had very fortunate teams and players and high talent. I have always felt it has been like that. If we prepare them and train them the right way, we should be able to compete in most games. Recordwise, it was very positive, but these guys were just a complete team.”