AlBrook just couldn’t get over the hump, finishes season at 5-12
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
At season’s start, AlBrook baseball head coach Damien Paulson knew the Falcons would need timely hitting in order to win games, and if they didn’t, they just weren’t going to get over that hump.
Let’s just say AlBrook never quite got over that hump this year.
The Falcons started the season hot, winning their first three affairs, and it appeared as if the AlBrook baseball program was clicking. But a major turning point in the year occurred after an injury to junior catcher Josh Johnson – with their record sitting at an impressive 3-1 – as the Falcons dropped seven straight contests and began to go into a tailspin.
Without the experienced Johnson behind the plate, AlBrook struggled, finishing the season with a 5-12 record after a first round 8-4 loss to Hill City in the Section 7A playoffs. Johnson led the team with a .340 batting average, while sophomore shortstop Bryce Karppinen hit .330 and both junior infielders Kolten Karppinen and Cody Anderson hovered at the .320 mark.
AlBrook loses a pair of senior infielders in Alex Bober and Nate Fremling, but next year’s squad looks stronger than ever, as the Falcons will return a number of upperclassmen to the diamond.
Paulson is looking for a leader.
“We’ll have a lot of juniors becoming seniors and we need a take-charge sort of guy,” he said. “The experience is there. We just need to find the mental side.”
With their top five hitters suiting up again next season, Paulson is excited for new opportunities, but will again stress the two words that his boys heard him say all year long – timely hitting.
“We had a decent year, considering our inexperience, but if we had had a timely hit more often we would have won three or four more games,” said Paulson. “But this was one of the most fun teams I’ve had. We got along, but we just couldn’t get over that hump.”