Month’s of baseball practice, fall and spring seasons and a Class A State runner-up trophy are now behind Sterling coach Jayson Wilson so what’s his way to relax?
“I’m out fishing with my youngest son,” the first-year coach said. “I just decided to get out and relax and see what we might catch.”
The Tigers managed to pull off an upset against No. 2 Canute on Sunday behind the pitching of senior Nate Anderson but Monday they ran into the state’s top-ranked Rattan Rams and came up on the short end of an 11-3 score.
Still he and the Tigers tried to remember all the positives they had in a great season.
“I think the biggest thing we changed this season was the mindset of these kids,” he said. “They found a reason to play for one another, not worry about individual stats and awards but play together. Our motto was “One Team, One Town, One Family” and that’s what these kids did during the season.”
When the title game came around Anderson, who has signed with Redlands, was out of pitches, so the ball had to land in the hand of another player and that was where the debate was set.
“(Brayden) Huitt had gotten hurt in the regional when a catcher threw a ball trying to get out a runner and hit him on his point finger,” Wilson said. “We didn’t use him during the first two games because we didn’t know how bad it was going to affect him. But he told me, ‘Coach I want the ball, I can do this” so we gave him a chance.
“The problem was that he had to change the grip on his fastball and his curve and that affected the way he was having to throw. He gave us five innings and we had to try something else.”
Wilson will not only have to replace Huitt and Anderson but also shortstop Tyler Pierce but he feels the younger players learned a great deal from those three.
“I’ve had those three seniors for six years so I’m going to miss those guys,” Wilson said. “But I still have seven who have played travel ball with me and they have learned a great deal from Nate whom taught them a great deal about how to compete. He showed them the old school way of hard work pays off. Those three seniors have helped these younger kids immensely.”
There is indeed some talent in the wings.
“Riley Lile and Kayden (Wilson) and some of the other sophomores are going to have to step up and play big roles for us,” he said. “I’m not sure if we can compete with these other teams but we’re going to get after it and keep working hard.”
As far as the Canute win, in addition to Anderson’s pitching, Lile went 3-for-4 and had the hot bat but the Tigers were unable to get some key hits when they needed them with runners on base in the later innings against Rattan.
“Against Canute our kids really did a great job of being selective at the plate and not swinging at their bad pitches and that was the difference,” he said. “I think that was the key for our guys, not swing at the bad pitches.”
One of the interesting sidebars to Wilson’s coaching career is that his brother-in-law Hayden Herrin is working hard to rebuild Fletcher’s youth program.
“He and I are more than just brother-in-laws, we are best friends,” Wilson said. “Now, we might go fight after we play, but if he asks me for advice or about fundamentals we’re going to help each other. Now it is a little rough on mother-in-laws and father-in-laws but we are both working toward building programs.”
Wilson said the support at Sterling has been amazing, especially from High School Principal Marty Curry.
“Marty has been great to help me in any way possible,” Wilson said. “He lost his mother last weekend but he still came and got on the bus before we left and gave us his pep talk. He is a great man to work around and he’s been there for us all season.”