When Chris Floyd speaks of his team’s issues, it’s a collective concern which many Class 6A area baseball teams would gladly embrace.
The Clear Springs head baseball coach boasts a squad, which on paper, appears to be formidable.
However, as Floyd is quick to point out, one bad day in the field, on the mound or at the plate can reverse one’s fortunes quickly.
“We’ve got some key components returning, especially pitching-wise, which is the reason I think everybody believes we’ll be good,” Floyd said. “But in our district (24-6A), anybody can win on any night.
“I don’t even know what it feels like to go 14-0…and that’s not even realistic to me.”
That’s why Floyd enters the season with guarded optimism.
“The one thing we have this year that we haven’t had in a couple of seasons is good chemistry,” Floyd said. “If there’s going to be a difference-maker for us, that will be it.”
“We have a bunch of pitchers in the junior class,” Floyd said. “We’ve got about 14 arms, but I don’t know that that translates into district pitchers.
“What it does mean is that I feel a lot better going into these tournaments knowing we play five games in three days.
“Blake was a big part of our success last year, and we weren’t even counting on him, so there’s no telling who could emerge for us this season. A big key for us is staying healthy. We’ve cut back a lot on how we throw during the week.
“The pitch count, too, is an interesting dynamic that we haven’t dealt with.”
“Counting Minter, we’ve got nine outfielders,” Floyd said. “Any combination of three, we’d be perfectly fine with. In the 11 years I was at Creek, we never had this depth.
“We’re going to put out there the three we feel give us the best chance to win. It doesn’t matter who’s out there, we have to pull for each other.
“To some degree, it’s the same way in the infield.”
“I really don’t know who the starters will be,” Floyd said. “We played two seven-inning scrimmages and used two completely different lineups.
“Sometimes it’s not about having the best nine on the field, but having the right nine.”
Thus, if someone’s not performing, could Floyd have a quick hook?
“There’s a fine line there,” he said. “You don’t want to demoralize someone, and just because some kid isn’t cutting it doesn’t mean the next guy will get it done.
“We’re just going to try to get a lot of reps to a lot of people early in the season. Our first 15 games are brutal at the McKinney, Creek and Kempner tournaments. The odds of us seeing poor pitching is pretty remote.
“The McKinney tournament will give our kids a chance to bond away from kids they see every day.”
Floyd says the ultimate goal is to be ready for 24-6A baseball, and he couldn’t single out a front-runner.
“Who’s not going to be good is the question,” Floyd said. “Brazoswood is finally down a little bit and they leave the district, and now we’ve got Alvin, which is always good.
“Creek…they expect to win every year. They have pitching, and they know what it means to win. Falls, Brook and Lake are each a year older and better. “
To me, Dickinson is the dark horse.
“I think they’ll surprise a lot of people. I can’t think of one time last year where it was an easy game against Dickinson. And then Friendswood has two of the best lefties around.”
So what’s to prevent Springs from claiming the league title?
“That’s easy – can we hit the ball?,” Floyd said. “We didn’t swing it well last year until the playoffs. The other concern is can a lot of these JV guys make the jump to varsity.
“Chemistry is the big key for us. All these guys will do whatever it takes to win. They don’t care who gets the credit. That doesn’t mean we’ll go five rounds deep in the playoffs. Sometimes you just run into somebody better than you.
“The prospects are encouraging and the guys are ready to get after it, so we’ll see how it unfolds.”