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New coach leads improved baseball team by peter clark Staff Reporter


resh-cut grass, longer days and the sun making a more regular appearance can only mean one thing: Baseball season is here. For the Whitman baseball team and its new head coach, Sean Kinney, these signs of spring cannot come soon enough. Coming off a disappointing season last year, the Missionaries have made the necessary steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again this year. Even after an off-season of intense training, the team certainly has not slowed down since coming back from winter break. “We worked harder this off-season than we have in the last three years,” said senior pitcher Justin Weeks. For the first two weeks of the spring semester, the team engaged in a two-a-day practice regimen that included hour-anda-half-long practices starting at 6 a.m., which were followed by an afternoon session that lasted

two and a half hours. The mornings included plyometrix, technical drills, fielding drills and a meeting at the end that focused on the mental aspects of the game. The afternoons focused on hitting and working on skills specific to different position players. Junior outfielder Kyle Moyes found that although the early morning workouts were rough, they gave the team confidence going into the season that they have put in the time to be successful. “It was pretty tough getting up at 5:15 every morning, but we got through it. We got a lot of good work in and I am glad we did it because it is going to help us later on in the season,” said Moyes. Coach Kinney was pleased with not just the effort that his team showed during those two weeks, but also the sacrifices they made. “We had a lot to cover in those early weeks. I know it’s not easy; everyone has got to give up something to get it done. But in the end it shows that we’re all in it together and that we’re commit-

ted to excellence,” said Kinney. Coach Kinney has the advantage of once being a student athlete at Whitman. Because of his experience, he understands the rigors and challenges of balancing academics with baseball. Kinney believes that one of the key differences he sees in this year’s team compared to previous teams at Whitman is the depth on this year’s roster. “I remember as a player we would have a good core who were really committed, but then there were another ten or so players who you just didn’t know what you were going to get out of them. I think that’s the big change I see this year. It’s the mentality that it takes 28 guys to win and not just the nine out on the field,” said Kinney. One of the strengths of this year’s team is their outfield. With juniors Kyle Moyes, Kyle Buckham and Aaron Cohen tracking down balls, the Missionaries will look to use their speed and arm strength to save runs throughout the year. The left side of the infield

The baseball team faces home plate to receive directions from their coaches (left). Head Coach Sean Kinney (above) delivers a pitch to a waiting batter. Photos by Johnson

should be strong with the addition of first-year Ozzy Braff at shortstop and junior Cam Young sliding over to third base. With regular second baseman Chris Konolige still recovering from ACL surgery and first baseman Peter Valentine recovering from injury as well, the right side of the infield will be defended by committee to start the year for the Missionaries. The pitching staff will be led by senior righty Justin Weeks. Joining him in the rotation to start the season will be fellow senior Brett Lambert, sophomores Will Thompson and Spencer Hobson, and junior Dakota Matherly. The game of baseball is a series of battles that can be as minute as striving to win each pitch and as

large as the ultimate result of the game. The overwhelming consensus on the theme of the season is a focus on winning each pitch at bat and inning in hopes that it will result in a win at the end of the game. “If we give our best at all times and leave everything out on the field each time we step on it, everything else will take care of itself,” explained Weeks. The Missionaries begin action on the diamond this week as they play at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a double header on Feb. 6, followed by four games in three days against Whittier College, University of La Verne, Hardin-Simmons University and the University of Texas at Dallas stretching from Feb. 8-10 in Phoenix, Ariz.

CrossFit hits campus by tristan gavin Sports Editor

F Colin Brinton ‘15 squats with the weights overhead in BFFC (above) while his workout partner Spencer Corwin ‘14 stretches his shoulders (right) Photos by Vander Laan

or varsity and club athletes at Whitman, working out is a way to stay in shape for their sport. For non-athletes trying to stay in shape, working out is their sport. Sophomore Colin Brinton is one of a handful of Whitman students whose work-


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out regimens are dictated by the fitness trend known as CrossFit. CrossFit is a West Coast fitness development that has achieved international recognition in the last decade. While the training style has received an influx of attention following ESPN’s coverage of the CrossFit Games, Brinton is in a small minority of Whitman students who train. “It’s definitely not huge here. Walla Walla, in general, has been slow to catch on to the rise in CrossFit’s popularity,” said Brinton. CrossFit combines explosive weight lifting, cardiovascular training and body weight exercises in a way that is very conducive to success in sports. Many professional athletes including triathletes have found great success in their craft through incorporating CrossFit training, but for Brinton the competition remains within the weight room, not in the field. “One of the great things about CrossFit is that the workouts are quantifiable, allowing you to compete against yourself or others. It has a competitive side to it that pushes me to improve every day,” said Brinton. While Brinton considers his discipline a sport, many varsity athletes remain skeptical to CrossFit’s merit. “Comparing CrossFit to traditional sports is like comparing scrawny, uncoordinated apples to oranges. Sport demand you train just to be able to perform. CrossFit is less a sport and more of a side show, really,” said junior Jonny Lari. Brinton often works out on his own, but CrossFit is known for its strong community that results from working out in classes and friendly competition. “[Baker Ferguson Fitness Center] does not have the space or equipment to accommodate classes or large groups performing. Most workouts involve free weights and pull-up bars,

both of which are scarce,” said Brinton. The Baker Ferguson Fitness Center (BFFC) has only two sets of the rubberized weights used for dead lifts and other floor-based Olympic lifts that CrossFit incorporates. While Brinton would like to see more, Lari does not think the weights are the issue. “There is a reason CrossFit gyms exist. There are unwritten rules about weightlifting etiquette and having guys running around and doing overhead lifting makes the gym a place I don’t want to be,” Lari said, adding, “Abuse of equipment is one of my biggest pet peeves in the gym, and scrawny guys swinging from pull-up bars is the biggest abuse of equipment that comes to mind.” While Whitman’s gym may not be ideal for CrossFit training, CrossFit Walla Walla is a gym, or “box” as they call it, entirely dedicated to the discipline and located less than a tenminute bike ride from campus. The box is already filling with Walla Walla community members, but is always looking for more members. “We have Olympic lifting equipment, power lifting equipment [and] kettle bells as well as equipment for gymnastic-type movements like dips and pull ups,” described Chuck Amerein, who opened the box last year after operating a gym in Dayton. CrossFit Walla Walla, located in a small warehouse, might cost a bit more and not have the warm, luxurious facilities of BFFC, but has the ideal setup for those interested in the popular fitness discipline and working out with likeminded people. The humble box has just what is needed for the constantly varied, functional and high intensity movements CrossFit is based on. “We have a cold box right now, but you warm it up working out,” said Amerein.

Whitman Pioneer Spring 2013 Issue 3 Feature  

The Feature section for issue 3.