BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE — Rob Duell has been the head coach at BH-BL for the last six years and was the assistant coach for the six years before, so he has seen several teams come and go throughout the years.
“Last season was a tough season for us, playing in the Suburban Council, we didn’t have the regular season record that we wanted to have. For a variety of reasons, we had some injuries, we were missing some players, and we were really young, but the hope was that we gained some valuable experience going through that last year and to kind of prepare us a little better for this season, which I think it did,” Duell explained.
Last season, star hitter Jeremy Clayton, a three-sport varsity athlete, was out of commission most of the season due to a shoulder injury during football season.
“Jeremy is an outstanding athlete, a leader for us and he’s back this year which should significantly help us offensively. Like I said, I think the experience of the kids that had to learn on the job, so to speak, last year have a year under their belt and now understand what Suburban Council competition looks like and are hopefully a little bit better prepared going into this season.”
Clayton returned for the last eight games of the season in 2017 but could only hit. However, he ended up being second on the team in RBIs.
“He is a very good hitter and just his presence on the field, as far as a leader goes, that may even be more valuable than his stats,” Duell said, praising Clayton.
“We are fortunate to have some really experienced seniors and juniors, but we are relying on three sophomores that are going to play a significant role in our success. They’re in the process right now of seeing varsity baseball for the first time and trying to get accustomed to the pitchers throwing a little bit harder; the ball gets hit harder than they were used to seeing at the lower levels,” Duell explained.
As far as goals go, the song remains the same as most other teams in the area.
“We want to go out there and be competitive at the top. We’re trying to get these other guys to understand that we’re here to win and we’ll get better along the way,” Duell said.
Team Headshots by SuperSource Media, LLC.