Prior to the season, Seymour coach Bob Kelo and his coaching staff met to discuss who the team captains should be. The coaches hoped to pick two out of the six seniors to be captains, but instead went with all six.
“They’re all leaders in a certain respect anyway,” the coach said.
However, there was a catch. There are only two captains per game and they change each game based on which two seniors played the best in the previous game. Kelo said the idea to have game captains came from one of his coaches, the players loved the idea and at 12-0, it seems to have been the right choice.
Senior Nick Kuzia said the players compete each game to have a chance to be game captain. He said all the seniors have been game captain at least once. Senior Jake Walkinshaw said getting the nod to be the game captain is an honor.
“It’s a good confidence booster,” he said. “But we all know we are capable of being captains.”
With strong senior leadership, the team with six interchangeable captains has made a 180 degree turnaround from last season.
“Last year may have been an eye opener,” Kelo said. “Going 7-13, especially the last loss to Wolcott.”
A loss in which Seymour walked in runs, committed errors and missed the state tournament on the last day of the regular season by one run, 8-7.
“It was rough all around,” Walkinshaw said.
Seymour was shutout four times last season, was held under three runs in a game nine times and never won more than three games in a row.
“I kept saying ‘if you’re not being successful, why don’t you try it my way?'” Kelo said.
So in the offseason the Wildcats tried it the coach’s way and went to work in the weight room. Last season, Seymour averaged 2.6 runs per game through 12 games. This year, after focusing on hitting and getting stronger, the Wildcats are posting 7.5 runs per contest.
With a chip on their shoulders after the way last season ended, the Wildcats are focused on making 2013 a distant memory.
“We’re always pushing each other in practice,” Kuzia said. “We want each other to do well.”
And even though only seniors can be named game captains, the underclassmen have been getting in on the fun.
“Everyone had a different energy that we didn’t have last year,” Walkinshaw said.
With a state tournament berth clinched and just eight games left in the season, Kelo said his team is taking it one game at a time.
“In the regular season you learn from it, but in a few weeks when it’s one and done, you have a bad inning and it’s over,” he said.
Kuzia said they hear him loud and clear.
“Right now we’re at the top and we hope to continue (winning)” he said. “Just trying to go 1-0.”