2019-04-10 / Sports

Play Ball: Walton Baseball Looks For Promising Season

By Ron Galley

WALTON - The Walton Central School spring sports are underway. And despite the cold, the rain, wind and snow, the Walton baseball team is optimistic heading into the new season.

Coach Art Loomis said expectations are high as he begins his fourth season as coach of the Warriors. He was an assistant coach at a small school in Utica before coming to Walton. He says the leadership comes from a talented group of juniors, led by third-year starting catcher Kyle Wright and Dylan Jacob, who has been the starting shortstop since eighth grade.

When asked about the strength of the team, Loomis, quickly and decisively said, “defense,” particularly around the infield. When asked about pitching, the coach said, “We have quality,” but added that a lot depends on the weather. If there are rain outs, the season becomes condensed. The strategy is to go game-by-game and do whatever is necessary to get the job done.

Walton expects to play an exciting brand of baseball, playing what the coach calls, small ball, featuring a lot of hit and run and utilizing the team’s speed, going first to third on base hits, play, and what he calls, the right way and put the ball in play.

Loomis learned the game at a young age, growing up in the Utica area, where he watched the Utica Blue Sox, Minor League affiliate of the Florida Marlins. His philosophy is to “control what we can.” He adds, there are no shortcuts, and he wants the team to know, “the full game of baseball.”

There has been steady growth since Loomis first became coach at Walton. The first year, the team went 4-12. In year two, they were 8-10, and last year 10-7. He admitted this year’s expectations are high. The MAC features the defending state champion Deposit/ Hancock Eagles and numerous teams who had success a year ago in the sectionals.

Despite the dodgy weather, Loomis said the Warriors have been able to practice outdoors eight times this spring.

When asked what will be a key to the success of Walton Baseball, Loomis pointed to the weather and said if the team can avoid a lot of back to back games, “we should be successful.” Walton plays, at home Thursday, April 11, against defending state champion Deposit/Hancock.

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