Viera High baseball will lean on senior leadership


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Senior first baseman Sebastian Samuels is one of 10 seniors on the Viera High baseball roster. Samuels has signed to play at Montevallo University. Photo by Carl Kotala

If there is one thing Viera High baseball coach Bob Doty can’t say about this year’s team, it’s that it lacks senior leadership.

After all, he’s got 10 of them.

“We’re senior laden,” Doty said. “Many of them have been with us for a long time. We’re expecting big things out of these guys.”

That’s because the Hawks don’t just have experience. They’ve got plenty of talent, too.

Senior catcher Alex Brait has committed to Florida Gulf Coast University. Senior first baseman Sebastian Samuels signed with Montevallo University during the early signing period and sophomore center fielder Christian Robinson is a University of Florida commit.

“We’re better than last year for sure,” Brait said, citing a number of factors, including an improved infield, better team chemistry and a beefed up coaching staff that includes several new additions, among them former Florida Marlins bench coach Rob Leary.

With a pitching staff that includes a couple of college-worthy talents in Bryson Wallace and lefty Zach Kaye, and an offense that could be quite dangerous, the Hawks would certainly appear to be capable of making a run at a district title.

“I think we’re going to swing it well,” Samuels said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have been here for a while and have a good understanding of who they are as hitters and what they need to do.”

In addition to Brait, Samuels, Wallace and Kaye, the Hawks will be leaning on their senior-rich roster, which also includes Nick Poehailos, Brody Legate, Darren Rodney, Noah Van Alstine and Kenny Payne, to lead the way.

Doty said the theme for this season is “Win the Now” which comes with an emphasis on building team chemistry and finishing strong.

The latter has been a bit of a problem for the Hawks in recent years, including last season when they started off 11-2 only to finish 15-10.

In order to try something different this season, Doty did not schedule any games during spring break, though players will certainly be allowed to get some practice time if so desired.

“We’re going to see what that does,” Doty said

It helps that the seniors are well aware the problem exists and hope to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I think it’s just a mindset,’ Samuels said. “You’ve got to play every game like it’s going to be your last, especially for us seniors. This is our last year of playing high school baseball, so we’ve got to have that mindset like this is going to be our last game, no matter who we’re playing or when it is.

“It’s all about the mindset, wanting to win and having that eagerness to go out and get it.”