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Central Indians baseball enters year two of Cale Lyons; look to improve from last season

Mar. 5—Winter sports are nearing a close at both the high school and college levels, paving the way for athletes to begin their transition back outside for the spring season. In Missouri, this time of the year rolls into baseball season, and in a community where many love and support the game, it's an exciting time for all.

For the Central Indians, being back out on the field with a 2nd-year head coach Cale Lyons means development from the program this season could go a long way in the future. With the 2024 high school baseball season officially beginning here in two weeks, the team is coming off a 2023 campaign where they went 9-16 overall, but the team, despite having a new coach, were in a lot of close contests.

"It's a younger group of guys with some veteran leadership, so really, there's a lot of things, small ball wise, where we lost a lot of games by 1 to 2 runs last year," Lyons said. "One big thing we're working on is our small ball and just scoring runs one base at a time."

The team will rely on more younger athletes, but Lyons mentioned he trusts his underclassmen, including the likes of kanon Wetlauffer and Pete Barry. The team will have to navigate a tough landscape with a younger roster, but the stability Lyons brings will help ease some of the stress.

In recent seasons, Central has played in the Class 6 District 8 landscape, which is littered with impressive teams like Staley, Park Hill South, Liberty North and more.

"It's definitely brought a lot of stability, and also just like consistency," senior first baseman Cooper McLaren said. "I've had almost a different head coach every single year of high school, and also he's very consistent for what he brings to the program."

From a head coaching position, the goal of the team is to always reach the signature state title game and bring home some hardware. However, that goal can not be achieved right from the jump, and Lyons wants his team to bring it every practice and game to help them reach their dreams.

"Our goals are to play every game with high energy and just have fun while we're doing it," Lyons said. "You can only play this game for so long and then eventually it's done and you're playing softball as an old man. Everything is high energy, everything's fun, and of course, a state championship is always on the mind."

Of course, it's not only the head coach with a goal on the season, but the players as well. Having been in the program and wrapping up his final season on the team, senior Brock Williamson shared his goals for the season.

"We've been kind of that .500 team, and to just get over that hump, just to keep expanding this baseball program going forward," Williamson said. "Just with a winning season in the districts, just confident, ready to play and just attack the next team we go against."

When the season officially rolls around and the players are back competing on the diamond, the Indians will be ready to showcase what they've worked on in the off-season. From lifting to help result in power, and working on the fundamentals, this team believes they have the pieces to make some noise.

"Our pitching staff is very talented. I have very much faith in them," McLaren said. "As long as we can put up numbers on the hitting side, I have no doubt in our pitching staff."

Calvin Silvers can be reached at calvin.silvers@newspressnow.com.