Vacation is over. Time to catch up.
Just before I took some time off, I posted a blog about about the challenges awaiting new QHS coaches Greg Altmix and Bruce Bonness and it started considerable debate about the QHS baseball program. Specifically, the debate was about the future of the program.
After reading the comments and digesting everything said, here are some thoughts to ponder …
• It’s not fair to criticize the freshmen, no matter how you perceive why they were in the lineup. The coaching staff made a decision to play them, and the players did what the coaches asked of them. Don’t fault them for that.
I don’t fault former QHS coach Randy Mettemeyer for playing the freshmen either. He decided to build for the future and giving them experience will be invaluable down the road. They gained tremendously from the experience and will be more mature physically and mentally next season.
I don’t buy the notion the freshmen played because of their last names. They played because the coaching staff saw talent. No one is suggesting politics don’t play a part in high school athletics. There are times they do. This wasn’t one of them.
I also like the talent of the upperclassmen. Jake Kuhlman is a contact hitter who is good at putting the ball in play. Brady Hopson drives the ball. Drew Million and Alex Booher are solid. It’s a solid nucleus to build around.
But here’s the bottom line: All of the players need to be more committed to the game.
Fundamentals have been the program’s bugaboo. There have been too many instances where close games are lost because the opposing team is given extra outs. The defense and the pitching has to improve.
• It was suggested there was a better candidate than Bruce Bonness because that person had coached these players before. That’s not a valid argument for giving anyone the job. If it were, every little league or pee-wee league or rec league coach would eventually wind up coaching at the high school level.
Familiarity helps. So does knowledge of the game. So does being organized. So does being able to deal with parents and any criticism from fans.
In that sense, Bonness was the right choice. He’s experienced the gamut as both a basketball and baseball coach. He’s had success. He’s struggled. He’s dealt with the media in good times and bad. He’s faced school board and angry parents and survived.
Obviously, parents and fans are passionate about this program. The comments on this blog reaffirm that. That’s great to see. This program needs that sort of support.
I believe Bonness will thrive because of that support. I’ve known Bruce for a long time. He knows the game. Surrounding himself with other baseball people will help and create the right mix for success.
Some of the candidates who applied for the position will have success as coaches, too. They are committed to the sport and to the success of kids. They simply need seasoning on how to deal with everything outside the lines.
• I hope Mettemeyer stays around the QHS athletic department in some capacity. He was an important piece to a group of coaches who truly care about the kids. His assistant, Jim Wosman, was the same way. I had the priviledge of playing for Wosman many years ago. He is truly one of the great guys whose service has often gone unnoticed. If he’s not coaching next season, he’ll be missed.
I realize Mettemeyer’s young family needs his attention, but his support of QHS and the athletic department and passion for the Blue Devils is genuine. Any way he finds to be part of it will benefit everyone.
• Nolan Kurfman and Kyle Young will succeed at the college level in the right program. Where that is remains to be seen. I’m anxious to hear where they end up because I believe their talents will improve.