After graduating the majority of his record-setting team last spring, North Putnam High School baseball Brett Motz, looks for his team to be just as successful this season.
Last season, the Cougars dominated the diamond with a 14-8 overall record and boasted a 10-2 West Central Conference record as well. But with the majority of that team gone to graduation, one would think that Motz would have to rebuild his team all over again, but that's not the case according to him.
"The last two years we have really built on becoming a successful program and my goal as a coach is not to have a good group every other year, but to instill good qualities into these players so we can have continued success," Motz said. "A lot of these players on the team this year have played for us before and have older brothers play, so they know what's expected of them. So I really don't expect much of a drop off for us."
Motz does have six players returning from last year's varsity squad. Luke Woolums will be returning with his bat this season. In 2005 he batted .315 and had 12 runs batted in. Jake Mullis will also be returning this season. Mullis batted a .232 and had a fielding percentage of .852. Another Cougar returning is Kyle Rooker. Rooker batted .243 last year and posted .816 fielding percentage and he was only a freshman last season. Levi Elliot, Tyler Trent and Brayden Dahlstrom will be returning this year as well. Brayden is the younger brother of the County Player of the Year Trent Dahlstrom, who was the Cougars main pitcher last year.
Right now ,Motz said that he has almost every position except for a couple of infield positions and one outfield spot.
"It's a dog fight right now for the last few spots open and the players know it," Motz said.
The Cougars lost a lot of talent and experience last spring and have a lot this year, but they will be lacking the experience according to Motz.
"We had talented players last year and we have talented ones this year. We just don't have the experience that we had last year and that just means that we will have to work harder to get that experience," Motz said. "What I expect from these guys is to understand what it takes to be a successful team."
Motz may have a younger inexperience team, but his goals are any less. He said his goals are the same this year as they always are; win the county championship, conference championship and the sectional championship.
"If my goals weren't to win the county, conference and sectional, I would have to quit coaching," he said. "We're in the situation right now that we have momentum on our side and these players are wanting to win."
The Cougars will have an added treat this year when they play at home this season. Thanks to Jake Zaring, Norm Fish, Kevin Green, the parents and the light the field committee, the Cougars will now be able to play in the dark instead of calling a game due to darkness like they had to do in the past.
"I want to personally thank everybody that has been involved and Dixie Chopper for their continue support of our program," Motz said.
The Cougars will get a chance to see how they match up in the county and conference early this year when they open up their season against Greencastle at home on the March 3.