Hickman baseball building team chemistry

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | 10:15 p.m. CDT; updated 6:39 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 11, 2012

COLUMBIA — A short rain shower Tuesday afternoon cut short Hickman's final baseball practice before the start of the regular season.

About an hour before they were finished, players scrambled to put away equipment and returned to the dugout to wait out the rain.

Opener rained out

After ending practice an hour early Tuesday because of wet weather, the Hickman baseball team's season opener Wednesday against St. Charles has been rained out. 

Hickman coach Dan Devine said the game has been rescheduled to 5 p.m. on May 8 at Hickman.

The Kewpies are now set to start their season at 5 p.m. Thursday in a home game against Southern Boone.


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A few minutes later, the freshman team headed back into the outfield to play a modified version of ultimate Frisbee using mitts and a baseball.

But the varsity team remained in the dugout. Coach Dan Devine leaned over the fence and talked to the players for 20 minutes.

When he was done, a slow clap rose up from the dugout, growing louder as the team started chanting and broke into a roar of applause.

They were coming together for the last time before Wednesday's game against St. Charles, and they felt the team chemistry that Devine worked to build throughout the preseason.

"I think it's something that's important every year," Devine said. "In high school when you have such a turnover, you've got a brand new lineup. So one of the things you try to do is get them all together to play as a team."

Devine said the team lost 12 seniors from last year's team, which means that this year's group has had to work to establish new bonds. He said the seniors tend to work the hardest because they have the most at stake.

Senior catcher Spencer Mills is no exception. Now the team captain, Mills said last year's team didn't have the group mentality that this year's team does.

"We want to work toward not just that individual mentality but being a team and doing everything together and putting everything together on the field when the time comes," Mills said.

Junior designated hitter Jared Hyler also talked about a team-centered focus.

"Just take one for the team, that's the team motto," Hyler said. "Put it all on the line, put your body on the line, do what's best for the team."

Devine said he isn't worried about replacing the seniors that left.

"We've had some really big senior classes, so it's just what happens," Devine said. "Your seniors graduate, and you've got to find some new players, and we like the guys we've got coming in, and we're excited about playing."

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