The Heat open their 2013 season at 7:05 p.m. on May 31.
The players are here, the field is ready, and Heat baseball is on for Friday night.
Kicking-off the 2013 season at home, the Wellington Heat host the Denver Cougars on May 31, at Hibbs-Hooten Field in Sellers Park. The players arrived over the weekend, and have been getting aquatinted with their new teammates and coaches.
Heat Head Coach, Adam Niesius has been working with the team, in pre-season-like practices in these early days. All of it leads up to Friday night.
"We want a couple of things for sure, we want our pitchers to throw strikes, we want our hitters to put the ball in play, and we want to make routine plays," Niesius said. "We've got guys that can go get the job done."
One aspect of the game Niesius won't let the team slack on is defense.
"That's kind of been the burr in the saddle for the Heat organization," the coach said. After the season opener on Friday, Denver and Wellington will play again on Saturday night, then again on Monday, June 3. On Sunday is the big Jayhawk League opener at home against El Dorado.
"...We're going to play defense. I've been in, and seen enough Jayhawk League play to know that if you don't play defense, it's going to get really ugly, really quick." Once the season starts rolling, the Heat will begin focusing on winning their fourth consecutive National Baseball Congress Midwest Regional Championship in July. The coaches will be looking for positive progression from the team as the season goes forward.
"I think playing together is first and foremost, it's tough when you've got guys coming out of numerous different summer programs," Niesius said. "Secondly, I think they have to show up every single day, if they don't, we're going to get beat." The coach said his team will rely on basic baseball techniques to help ensure that they end up win the "W" column.
"We're going to focus on fundamental defensive stuff," Niesius added. "...those things are going to help us win Jayhawk games, and those are the most important." He also said that game one will be a good test for the team, to get their feet wet.
"[Denver] will be ready to play when they get here, that I can guarantee you," Niesius said.