It's a new start for the Brown Deer baseball program and new coach Ron Hedrick wants to lay the groundwork for a sound future for the Falcons.
Hedrick takes over for long-time coach Mike Donahue, who was laid off last year due to budget issues. Hedrick is a veteran of the Cedarburg program, where he worked as an assistant for Bulldog legend Jack Friess for seven years.
He takes over a young team that was hit heavily by graduation in 2013 (10-15 overall), and which is off to a 3-7 start with several rain-outs to make up.
"It's been a lot of work so far but I knew that would be the case coming in," he said. "Fortunately (at Cedarburg), Jack let me do a lot of things (as an assistant) that he knew I'd have to learn once I got a varsity head coaching job. The kids have accepted things pretty well and I've been very pleased with the support I've received from (Brown Deer Athletic Director Mike Novak)."
Hedrick is largely building around five veteran hands, including senior co-captains Ryan Hudson (pitcher and shortstop) and Hunter Betts (pitcher and catcher). Other veterans are senior first baseman Austin Schwark, and juniors Mike Weeden (outfielder) and Gerry Gilles (outfielder).
Starters around the horn so far this season include Betts at catcher, Schwark and senior Greg Okray at first, sophomore Craig Schimenz at second, Hudson at short, junior Maurice Lucre at third, junior Darren Crenshaw in left, Gilles in center and Weeden in right.
The pitching staff has centered around Hudson and Weeden with Betts, Schimenz, Okray and junior Jacob Kent also helping out.
"I really like the kids to execute the fundamentals," said Hedrick of his philosophy. "Play hard all the time and handle yourself with class all the time. I like how the kids have responded. This is a style a lot different from what they've come to expect. They've handled it well. They're a good group of kids."
Hedrick said he is trying as many arms out on the mound as possible because the schedule will get pretty hectic very soon.
His plans include more work with the youth programs and getting things organized for the kids at a younger age.
"Again, more work with the fundamentals," he said.
He would also like to start a long-term process of upgrading the baseball facilities. The entire Brown Deer campus has just undergone a tremendous make-over and upgrade in its facilities.
"Overall, I like our direction," he said. "We just have a little work to do."
A highlight of the season so far as been a May 29 doubleheader sweep of Cudahy.
The Falcons' schedule includes four games this week, including hosting Pius XI at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, and then hosting St. Francis at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 30. A game with area rival Shorewood on June 20 was one of those that was rained out.
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