The Seymour baseball team has a different way of going about the preseason.
Last week Owls coach Jeremy Richey had the Owls partake in their annual “Victory Field Challenge.”
It was the fourth straight year the team has done a set of challenges that involve physical and mental activities.
“I like to see how they’re going to respond putting them in a team atmosphere where it’s not just about them and their performance, it’s the whole team,” Richey said.
The players, Grades 9 through 12, were divided into teams and competed in various events Monday through Friday.
“It’s a great chance for our kids to come together,” Richey said. “We’ve got our seniors on teams with freshmen. We have captains, and the captains pick the teams.
“It’s cool when your seniors are over there yelling for the freshmen that maybe just got over here from basketball. They don’t know them very well, but because they are on the same team, it builds that camaraderie that we’re looking for.”
The weeklong schedule features different events.
“On Monday we did team triangles, which is a physical endurance activity; and we did a game called ‘biz bo,’ where it’s a mental challenge where they have to count standing in a circle, and they have to change directions based on what they say,” Richey said. “That makes them really think.”
The players also lifted weights in the gymnasium weight room. On Tuesday they did bench and squats. Thursday they performed pull-ups and pushups.
On Wednesday the Owls played dodgeball and did a blindfold puzzle where only a player who is blindfolded is allowed to touch puzzle pieces, and everybody else directs the player to put it together.
This year, the Owls also did a Seymour baseball history test.
“We had 15 questions for them throughout history with our records and championship teams,” Richey said.
The players were scheduled to compete on an obstacle course Friday, but because of the heavy rain the players competed in hitting contests instead.
Richey said he got the idea from college baseball coaches.
“A lot of college teams do an ‘Omaha Challenge’ because they want to make it to Omaha (site of the College World Series), where our goal here is to make it to Victory Field, (where the state tournament is played),” Richey said. “We get some of our ideas from colleges. Their resources are different than ours. We try to incorporate something new every year. The hitting they did (Friday) is the only baseball-specific thing we did, and that was really wasn’t by plan because of the weather.”
Senior outfielder Bobby Kaufman has enjoyed the yearly events.
“Coach puts us together with some younger kids,” Kaufman said. “We take from each grade level, and this gets us to know everybody and gets us working as an entire team, no matter how old we are.”
“It’s my senior season, and I’m just looking forward to playing my last season with some of my best friends. I think we’re going to be pretty good this year. I’m looking forward to seeing what the season holds for us.”
The Mitchell Moore team placed first in the Challenge. Members of his team were Parker Phelps, Chandler Phelps, Keeanan Bohall, Jonathon Velasquez, Tyler Bloom, Nick James and Alazae Louden.
The Owls will scrimmage against Henryville at home March 26 then open the season March 31 against Shawe Memorial. They will play host to their invitational on April 4. Trinity Lutheran, Clarksville and North Harrison will compete in that tournament.