Great Mills Baseball Enjoying Fast Start

The spring season is only a couple days old and the Great Mills baseball team has enjoyed a fast start. The Hornets have been a dynamic group thus far, picking up wins against St. Charles and Westlake, outscoring their Southern Maryland Athletic Conference opponents 23-2 in the process.

It's been a welcome sight for head coach Kevin Rodgers. Rodgers admits his team still has some work to do in order to reach its full potential, but he's quite happy with how his group has played defense and pitched thus far.

"We get into the tough part of our conference in the next couple of weeks. We will have to evaluate the team more after that," Rodgers said. "We need to get better execution and staying in the games. First two ones were not close. Hopefully playing some close games will get the team more excited."

Games are sure to get more exciting, as Great Mills squares off with three of the expected top teams in the SMAC next week. The Hornets travel to both McDonough and St. Mary's County rival Leonardtown. Great Mills ends its week with Northern from Calvert County at home.

As tough as a stretch of games as that is, Great Mills expects to be competitive because of the team's unity, something Rodgers says will be one of the group's main strengths this season.

"All of the players are friends and hang out together outsides of school," Rodgers said. "Hunter Rooney is a three year starter. He and John Gatton are our captains, and they lead by example."

Being together as a unit will be important as Great Mills graduated quite a bit of talent from last year's team.

Great Mills has nine seniors on this year's roster, but only three of them started last season. There's also two sophomores and a freshman in the lineup, which means the team will have to learn about playing at the varsity level on the fly.

"We're going to have to play a lot more small ball this year with the loss of our speedy outfield. Last year we had three to four guys that every time they were on base, they'd steal. Makes it tough on pitchers," Rodgers said. "This year we have to rely more on manufacturing runs."

It has the makings of an exciting season for Great Mills baseball. The Hornets are excited to square off with all of the SMAC, but particularly St. Mary's County rivals Chopticon and Leonardtown, who many of Great Mills' players grew up playing baseball with. The group is also excited to face the defending MPSSAA 3A state champion, Huntingtown, which eliminated Great Mills from the playoffs last year.

For Rodgers, the hope is that next year it'll be Great Mills in the role Huntingtown currently is.

"Every year we have the same goals- win every game we play, win our division, win the SMAC, regionals and states. That should be everyone's goals," Rodgers said. "Every year we have improved from the previous year. I want to continue with that this year."
March 24th, 2017By: Wick Eisenberg

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