Q&A with Coach Ben Smejkal
By Erik Buchinger
First-year head coach Ben Smejkal previewed the 2017 Clintonville baseball season answering 10 questions.
Number of years coaching the team: This is my first year as the varsity head coach at Clintonville.
Returning varsity athletes: Kyle Finger (11), Chad Bork (12), Hunter Vollmer (12), Jordan Koeppen (12), Keenan Doornink (11), Nick Schoen (11), Colton Kluth (11), Logan Leisenfelder (11) and Josh Schroeder (12).
Athletes to watch: All of the above.
Team goals/expectations: We have a talented bunch of guys, so I am hoping we can show that to the rest of the conference and finish as a winning team.
Team’s strengths: We are maturing as baseball players every day, but yet we are still a young team. They know the game through experience and are bigger, stronger and faster than last year. We also have some very talented kids in the younger grades, and the numbers are up. Some of these younger players, I feel, could even compete at the varsity level this year.
Team’s weaknesses: Although the Truckers have many returning players the squad is still young. Only two starters are seniors.
Teams to beat in conference: We have five of the Top 20 teams in the state in our conference. We are truly looking forward to competing in a tough conference.
Biggest game/meet on the schedule: Any game against the ranked teams is big, all conference games are important.
What you want your athletes to get out of this season: Play together. Our focus is on fundamentals, hard work and competing as a team, not as individuals. I would like to put a team on the field that works together to persevere and not beat themselves.
Why fans should be excited for this team: Young experience, good numbers, and home field is getting a face lift with new dugouts, hosting the sectionals and the Legion State Tourney. It’s gonna be a big baseball year in Clintonville.