By Kathy Novak | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Clayton Coffman
PHOTO CAPTION: The Saints split a doubleheader against Rollins on March 29, moving their record to 11-21.
With a standing of 11-20, Saints’ Coach Dave Barnett is already preparing for several changes in the baseball program next season.
“Well you know it’s been a frustrating season. Our achilles heel has been overall offensive production — we are hitting .280 as a team — all teams we are playing are batting 320 and above. At least 80 percent of our problems are run production,” Barnett said.
With the team in Division II competition, this season’s schedule has presented some extremely challenging teams such as Valdosta State and Florida Tech. Barnett doesn’t believe this should be an excuse.
“Yes — but I don’t want to make an excuse that it’s the schedule. We knew going in what it would be like, but we’ve underachieved (the players we have brought in) from a pitching and hitting standpoint … I knew the schedule was tough, but it’s not going to change — from here on out it’s always going to be tough,” he said.
So what will change? What is Barnett’s big worry for this season that he hopes will change for the next? “My biggest concern as a coach is again we’ve really underachieved — we should probably be 20-11. There were teams, that based on paperwork, we should’ve been better (than).”
The players on the field are hoping for a positive change as well.
Graduating senior pitcher J.W. Deighton has hopes for the team for the rest of this and next season.
“I’d like for us to win out the rest of the season because we have been playing a lot better over the past two weeks. We need to improve on being consistent because when we play to our potential, we can beat any team,” Deighton said.
Barnett places his hopes on next season with the addition of several transfers.
“They are good guys — every one of them. I have done everything I could and this is my career — I’m not in it to lose,” Barnett said.
The Saints have never had a record this bad during Barnett’s tenure here.
“With 22 years at Flagler — this is the worst record of the program. We’re not used to not winning,” Barnett said.
The competition has stepped up as well prompting Barnett to try new strategies.
“We are in uncharted waters. The whole athletic program with DII and the whole competition has stepped itself up, and consequently recruiting becomes even more important.”
“We are losing four senior pitchers. We need to bring in at least three transfer guys that can help us on the mound,” he added.
But Barnett does see hope in the future with such a young nucleus of talent.
“In all honesty, I’m not the coach that says we need to clean house. We have some good young players — I just need to compliment them with transfers,” Barnett said.
The Saints last home game is April 28.