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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Clovers get back to the basics

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Cody Nees
Coaches in any sport like to talk about the fundamentals. No matter what the competition, they want their teams to be "fundamentally sound." For Cloverdale baseball coach Tim Savini, though, fundamentals play an even more important role with his 2007 squad. With little varsity experience on the roster, his players need to learn the basics of playing baseball at the varsity level.

"I have five guys who have any experience playing at the varsity level," said Savini.

"With this young of a group, we've been focusing on the basic fundamentals of hitting and fielding."

With this challenge in mind, Savini spent the early weeks of practice not focusing on specific positions or strategies, just the basics. In fact, early in the week before spring break was the first time the coach put his players into specific positions.

Savini has 22 players out for the team this year. Of these, only three are seniors and another two are juniors. Two of his three seniors are returning starters, and one junior along with two sophomores have any varsity experience at all. The rest of the group was either junior varsity or is new. The third senior has not played since his freshman year.

It all adds up to an extremely green group.

The three seniors are catcher Brandon Mescall, pitcher Cody Nees and third baseman Ryan Shoulders. Savini was extremely pleased with how these young men group have been doing leading their younger teammates.

"We have very good leadership out of our seniors," said Savini.

With only a few seniors, he is also finding leaders in a less likely spot.

"Even some of our more experienced sophomores are doing a good job of taking the young guys under their wings," he said.

The good mix of leaders and the focus on fundamentals left Savini pleased with how practice has gone so far on the season.

"It's been going really well. I've seen a lot of improvement over the last couple of weeks," he said.

Savini gave the credit for a good preseason to a good group of players who are listening and working hard.

"The young guys are being very coachable. They are doing a really good job of getting better."

The first real moment of truth, though, will come Monday, when the Clovers host South Putnam at 4:30 p.m.

"It's hard telling where we'll be strong," said Savini.

"Until I see them in a live ball game, it's going to be hard to tell."

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