Going, going, gone

2023 pre-season expectations are high for the Maize Eagles baseball team, who haven’t won a state title since 2017.


Photo by Hunter Dornbusch

As tryouts end on Friday, March 6, senior players inspect the field one more time to make sure everything is in order before starting official practices on Monday, March 9.

Maize High underclassmen will take on a big role for 2023 baseball season for the Eagles and will be asked early to help the team succeed and have an opportunity at a 5A state championship.

With the team having only four senior varsity players, several freshmen and sophomores will have to step into the line-up to help specifically with the pitching on this year’s team.

Senior Aiden Doty sets high goals for the team to accomplish, wanting a state title before he graduates. His aspirations include a trip to state at WSU.

Senior pitcher Aiden Doty’s daily schedule include a normal trip to school, two hours of baseball practice and he still finds time to play Fortnight with his friends during the evening. (Visual by Ethan Patton)

“Hopefully make it to a state tournament because I haven’t done that in my high school career,” said Doty.

Aiden appreciates the coaching of Rocky Helm, who is in his 24th year of coaching the Eagles.

“He was tough at first, but he always wanted the best out of me and always pushed me,” Doty added. 

Coach Helm demands his team put in the extra work for this season in the winter months. That includes building their work ethic, team chemistry, and leadership from upperclassmen. His players must be in cardio shape, build strong cores, and healthy arms going into the season.

“My expectations for players is to be prepared to the best of their ability.  I am looking for work ethic, leadership, and a good skill set from each and every player,” said Helm. “I want to know  that they took the initiative to improve over the previous season.”

Even in his 24th year of leading the Eagles, Coach Helm still wants to improve as a coach and put in extra work to become the best coach he can be.

“There are changes that can be made each and every year.  I will never lower my expectations of kids no matter how talented the team is.  Sometimes I am very hard on the kids and maybe push a little too much,” said Helm. “I need to learn how to relax and enjoy the ride a bit more each year.  I don’t know that I would make any changes but be more aware of my surroundings.”

As the season approaches, many players have the same or similar vision for the team in winning a 5A state championship. Sophomore Mario Lerma has all his focus on the title and will do what he can to help the team with their goals.

“Everyone says their goals are as high as the season and umm, obviously, probably win a state title,” said Lerma.

As the season gets closer, Lerma knows what he needs to do to get his team straight and ready. Since not many seniors are participating this season, underclassmen will be expected to be leaders early in the year and contribute to the team’s culture and goals this year.

“Well, we don’t have very many seniors and we try to be leaders and that’s pretty good for a team that’s pretty young,” Lerma added.