As in any sport, experience is a big plus in baseball. With more experience, players understand their roles better and gain confidence.
Tennis legend Stan Smith explained it this way, "Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it."
The Minden Crimson Tide baseball team will be loaded with experience this season, as they have 10 seniors on their team roster.
"We're mature," Crimson Tide coach Dean Francis said. "That's what I keep telling everybody. We have 10 seniors and at any given time we could have nine on the field."
Such a large group of seniors is unusual and not a guarantee of success.
"Someone made the comment the other day, that it's odd to have that many kids stay together, and it is," Francis said. "It's a good group and they've played together as long as I can remember, a lot of them played travel ball together."
Minden's senior players include, Turner Francis, Hutton Leppert, Mikey James, Jacob Johnson, Wilson Hosler, Sawyer Stephens, Braden Morgan, Austin Sumner, Carson Bolyer and Caleb Jones.
"It's a good thing to have that many, and it's a bad thing," Francis said. "It's good for this year of course, and it's bad thing for next year, because they will be gone. It's also bittersweet to have one of my own as senior."
The Crimson Tide will need all the experience they can get due to their tough schedule.
"This will be the toughest schedule that I've had in a long time," Francis said. "We're taking part in four different tournaments and we're going to play 12 or 13 5A teams. When you go out and put a schedule like that together, you're telling your team that you believe you might have something special. But you still have to go out and play."
Playing such a tough schedule benefits the Crimson Tide in a couple of ways. One, the Tide will pick up more power points which will help around seeding time for the playoffs, and second, playing tough teams should give the team confidence once in the playoffs.
"It's better to play up and play against better competition," Francis said. "It doesn't help if you play the weaker teams. We also have a real tough district schedule as well. So we're going to play in the Sulpher Tournament right before district play, to kind of get away and look at some other teams."
The Crimson Tide will get a chance to look at some other teams this weekend, as they host the Minden Baseball Jamboree.
Six teams will meet up at Griffith Stadium for a day-long baseball event. North Webster and Calvary will start things out at noon, and Lakeside will face Northwood at 2 p.m. The Crimson
Tide will then play Evangel at 4 p.m. to cap things off.
Francis and his team are ready to get the season started.
"We're excited to get started," Francis said. "We have a lot of confidence going into the year, but like I told the guys yesterday, we still have to go out and play. Teams aren't going to back down from us. We're going to have to go out there and play."