Liberty North head baseball coach Ryan Stegall commended his team for starting strong with wins over Smithville and Rockhurst. The season record hit 16-5 early on and finished 19-13. Unfortunately, the season got sidetracked by injuries.
Stegall had a sizable senior class that graduated – Hayden Armour, Jackson Bodinson, Brenner Maloney, Jacob Prather, Carter Erickson, Austin McLain, Peyton Boman and Braden Stervinou.
“I really believe we could have done better,” Stegall said. “We struggled with our bats. We struggled with consistency. We needed to be more consistent at the plate. We were good on the field and on the mound.”
Stegall said he understands that he loses seniors to graduation yearly – usually around 8 to 10 players.
“The goal is to always have that strong core,” he said. “I have around 10 juniors that will keep up their skills with me. I’m also going to look closely at the junior varsity team and the C team. I know we will pick up the pace.”
Stegall said he has some players that are moving on to play in college while others are hanging up their cleats. Maloney plans to play at the University of Missouri. He was hitting .400 before being injured.
Stervinou said he kept hoping that the team might take on Liberty after the district championship two years ago, especially early on with the smooth start.
“We were fortunate to have juniors come up and fill some big roles,” he said. “The season fell when Brenner got hurt and we lost in the semis to Kearney. It was a real mixed bag.”
In the fall, Stervinou will study engineering at Missouri State after he plays in the all-star game Saturday, June 15.
“I advise the junior varsity players to have the confidence to adapt as they get ready to play varsity,” he said. “They need to put their minds to it and they can go far.”
As for next year, Stegall expects juniors Nate Chester and Caden Wilson to step up in leadership roles as well as continuing as strong players.