Athens Drive varsity baseball season


Photos by @adnbaseball on Instagram

The team has been preparing for their season as early as last August. Although their record is not where they would currently like it to be, they are striving hard to keep their championship dreams afloat.

Baseball season has officially arrived and the Athens Drive boys team is ready to secure their goals of becoming conference champions. Right now, their overall record is 9-8, but they are second in their respective conference with a record of 3-1. Looking to bounce back from their close loss to Wakefield (3-2), they are working hard each day to improve their team chemistry and individual skills. The current head coach of the team is Taylor Webster, who is also a well-respected math teacher. He has coached the varsity team for five years so far.


“We hope to bring some hardware home,” said Webster.


The season did start off not as expected for the team, with them garnering more losses than wins. They are picking up the pace quickly, currently having a more positive record with 53%. The team holds each other accountable for mistakes made on the field and fixes what they did wrong on a certain play. Everyone treats each other like family, and the team chemistry is high during these times. 


“There was a lot of work to be done to retie our knots and become a team everyone fears,” said Lucas Valverde, one of the key players on the varsity team due to his competitive nature.


Some of the junior varsity players are called up to play for the varsity team on some occasions. Chip Raynor is one of the players. He has participated in many practices and has observed that the teams treat the practice as an actual game. There is no room for mistakes, and as a result, everyone has seen their performance increase. They take game-like plays and visualize how to draw up their offense and defense plays. The environment is very healthy, with everyone keeping each other’s heads up after someone messes up on a play. Everyone pushes each other to be the best version of themselves they possibly can. With this fire in everyone’s resolve ignited, the team will be more motivated to make the playoffs. 


Our coaches have everyone’s back no matter what and keeps everyone’s energy up throughout games and practices,” said Raynor. 


Numbers aren’t everything, though. Every member of the team strives hard to improve their craft at every opportunity they get at practice. 


Valverde and the rest of the team are constantly reminded by their head coach Webster that baseball is not just a physical sport, it is also mental. Like any team sport, the players should put the team first and succeed in their shared goal rather than pursue individual accomplishments. Every time the Athens team is down a few points in a game, Webster steps in and tells the team what they are executing wrong and how to fix the problem. The pep talks from Webster are like no other. Valverde has also recently committed to playing at Wake Tech after Athens. 


We try and build a culture where we compete against each other every day in practice, and it helps us push each other further and hold each other accountable,” said Webster.