New Brown Deer baseball coach Ron Hedrick was reasonably pleased with his first-year results as the Falcons finished at 7-15 in what was a rebuilding season.
"It was definitely a transition year for the players and the program om general," he said. "A new coach, a new philosophy, new expectations, new style. It was a big change for the kids."
The Falcons season ended with a WIAA regional loss to Arrowhead on July 15.
"The real high point for us was how the kids responded to the new philosophy and style," said Hedrick, "by the second half of the season we were really seeing how the kids adapted and, down the stretch, they played some of the best ball they did all season. I just wished we had had a couple of more weeks because in the end it had become a very competitive season."
Hedrick was also very pleased with the efforts of the seniors, five of whom finished the season, including Stephen Lay, Hunter Betts, Greg Okray, Ryan Hudson and Austin Schwark.
"All of them really improved and they worked with the others to keep everyone working hard," said Hedrick. "Overall, our skill level improved a great deal as the season went along. The kids started taking the things we were teaching them to heart.
"We also did better in close games as the season went along."
Hudson and Betts were team co-captains as Hudson had a dominant season, earning All-Woodland Conference overall as an infielder, as he hit .451 with team highs in just about every category. Outfielder Gerry Gilles also had a good season in a limited role, hitting .452 while Betts finished off a fine career batting .328.
Hudson was also the team ace with help from Mike Weeden while Betts was the primary reliever. Hudson was also Woodland East Division Player of the Year.
"He was really it as far as us coming together in the end," said Hedrick of Hudson, "and Hunter was really the epitome of a true utility player, he did everything for us."
Betts earned first-team All-Woodland Conference East Division honors for his efforts. Craig Schimenz also had a solid summer, said the coach.
To no one's surprise, Hudson was team MVP, while Lay was the most improved. Schwark earned the student/athlete award and Betts was named honorary captain.
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