Conditioning, reps key for Warren Central

Published 12:07 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

Warren Central third baseman Camden Kurtz reaches to tag a Clinton baserunner Thursday at Viking Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Warren Central third baseman Camden Kurtz reaches to tag a Clinton baserunner Thursday at Viking Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Warren Central finished up its monthlong summer schedule Thursday night by getting swept in a doubleheader against division rival Clinton. Much like the rest of the summer, the outcome wasn’t as important as what the Vikings got out of it.

WC assistant Randy Broome, who coaches the varsity during its summer run, said June is more about conditioning and gaining game experience than winning and losing.

“It’s guys getting reps, a lot of slow reps right now. You can tell the guys played a lot of baseball,” Broome said. “I think we’ve had a successful season as far as getting reps are concerned.”

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The Vikings started their summer season in late May and split up into three units — the varsity, junior varsity and ninth grade. Each one typically played two doubleheaders per week, plus a weekend tournament or two. Some players also spent time with other teams. Shortstop Brooks Boolos, pitcher Taft Nesmith and catcher Tyler McRight were part of the District 6 All-Stars that won the prestigious State Games of Mississippi baseball tournament last weekend.

That focus on baseball — as well as staying in shape and out of trouble — was the team’s primary goal, Broome said.

“If they’re paying attention and are involved with the game, whether they’re out there playing or on the bench watching, I think every situation that comes up will prepare them for the season that comes around,” Broome said.

Broome said part of the fun of the summer schedule, as a coach at least, is seeing how players mature mentally and physically. He’s noticed the shift in the physical strength of players from their sophomore to junior year. They tend to hit the ball harder, figure out their coaches’ philosophies and things start to fall into place as they prepare to take a bigger role with the varsity team.

Senior-to-be Josh Lieberman embodies that ideal. He started his high school career as a catcher, spent most of last season as a designated hitter, and also moved into the outfield. His new position is one he’s grown to love.

Lieberman hit .341 with 15 RBIs in 16 games last season to help Warren Central win its first Division 4-6A championship since 2010.

“I have pretty good speed and I feel like I’ve become pretty natural out there,” Lieberman said. “Just really getting reads out there and more at-bats. It’s a good thing all around.”

While some players try to hone their skills, some spent the past month regaining them.

Pitcher Tyler Vroman is recovering from an elbow injury, which sidelined him for the 2015 season. He recovered from a 90 percent tear in his UCL by rehabbing and feels like’s gotten stronger. Vroman did a lot of long toss, working out and icing of his elbow to get back in playing shape.

Vroman said the summer games give him a feels of what next season is going to be like, when he’ll be a bigger part of the pitching rotation.

“It’s something to build on, know what your flaws are so you can get better in the offseason for next year,” Vroman said.