Creek baseball hope to build on previous year’s experiences

Photo by Darrell James

By Malcolm Butler

There is no price tag a coach can put on experience.

And last year’s Cedar Creek Cougars baseball team had very little of it.

During Trey Long’s first year at the helm of the Cougars, Cedar Creek had only one senior in Aaron Peel, who suffered an injury before the season and never touched the field. Creek struggled to a 6-20 record.

Enter 2023 and Long hopes the Cougars will be able to build upon their experiences from a year ago. Creek opened up its season Monday night with a 6-2 loss to Class 5A Parkway and Long said he liked a lot of what he saw.

“I just want to see us take what we started with last year and build upon it,” said Long. “I think the guys, especially after the game (against Parkway) Monday got their eyes open that we can do this.We are still young. We still only have three seniors, but we just want to build off of what we did last year. We know where we want to get to eventually.”

Overall, Long hopes last year’s experiences — both good and bad –will pay dividends this season.

“Just getting the experience on the field,” said Long. “Learning the difference in the speed of the game. We had a lot of young guys who were thrown into the fire. Now that we have that experience and pretty much all of our guys are back and they have been through a full season, they know what to expect and what they have to do to reach their goals.”

Creek’s 20-man roster includes seniors Caden Middleton, Jordan Vail and Brady Wade.  Long said he needs the trio to provide a number of things to what is still a relatively young roster. Ten of the 20 rostered are sophomores, freshmen or eighth grade.

“Leadership mainly,” said Long. “Caden has come in and took over a role that we needed some help in at first base. He has solidified that position and allowed us to move Jackson Mock to the outfield to give us more depth. That has been a big help. Jordan is going to carry the load catching, and he is also one of our best pitchers so he will be on the mound quite a bit. He and Brady both. We feel like anytime they are on the mound we have a chance.”

Pitching and defense will be a big key if the Cougars are going to improve on their 6-win total from 2022. Long said he has a number of arms that Creek will turn to throughout the season.

“We have several that we will utilize on the mound,” said Long. “Our top guys are Brady Wade, Jordan Vail and Max Brister. We will lean on those three heavily. Ladd (Thompson) has looked really good this year after going through some stuff with his arm last year. He has bounced back nice. His one outing he had in the jamboree was clean and efficient. Then we have some young guys that we are hoping can step up and fill some innings for us.”

So what is the strength of this year’s Creek baseball team?

“I think our willingness to compete,” said Long. “We don’t have any superstars. We don’t have anyone that is going to light up a radar gun or hit 12 to 15 home runs. But we have a lot of guys that love the game, and just want to go out and play hard and try to find a W.”

The Cougars will play three games in the Robe Classic in Crowley this weekend, including a Friday match-up against Lake Charles College Prep at 4 p.m. and a pair of Saturday games against Mangham and Sacred Heart Ville Platte.

“This is going to be a challenging weekend for us,” said Long. “We have kids participating in the regional power lifting meet and also in the boys basketball playoffs. So we are going to have to use some younger guys and throw them in the fire. That can be a good thing at the end (of the season), us giving them some experience early in the season.”

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