SUDBURY – There’s a rich tradition entrenched in the Lincoln-Sudbury baseball program, and it resonates even when the Warriors are on the practice field.
As they took to the diamond in preparation for their season opener, players sported T-shirts with that read, “LS Championship Tradition.” Under coach Kirk Fredericks, the Warriors have won 12 consecutive Dual County League titles and won state championships in 2011, 2007 and 2005.
But after defeating Minnechaug 10-2 to win the 2011 D1 title, the Warriors are rebuilding. Even still, last year’s relatively young squad finished 16-4 last season and advanced to the D1 North quarterfinals, despite playing without 14 kids from the prior state championship squad roster.
Acton-Boxboro defeated L-S, 5-3, in 10 innings to knock the Warriors out of last year’s tournament.
“Everyone thought we were going to stink, and our kids thought they were going to win the state championship [last season],” Fredericks said. “Their attitude, their effort – I was just amazed by that. It carried us the most of the year.”
The players at Lincoln-Sudbury have embraced the program’s winning culture, and hope to add another chapter to the legacy.
“We’re just trying to put pieces of the puzzle together,” Fredericks said. “There are a lot of guys that have shown a lot of good things, and a lot of guys that have struggled in certain areas. We’re just trying to make decisions on the holes that we have.”
While pitching carried the Warriors to their 2011 state championship, Fredericks believed that was one of the main weaknesses last season.
This year, the staff has shaped together with the likes of senior Cam Waggener, and juniors Sid Warrenbrand and Alex Wieland.
“Having three of those guys back is a huge plus,” Fredericks said. “We’re just trying to continue to build [the pitching staff] before the year is over.”
Warrenbrand gained valuable experience last season as a sophomore, and it showed in the team’s home opener. The junior right-hander threw five innings of shutout baseball against Nashoba and struck out 10, but the Warriors let the lead slip away and lost 6-5 in extra innings.
Although the result wasn’t ideal, Warrenbrand’s start was encouraging. Two days later, the Warriors bounced back and beat Wayland, 8-0.
“We have a slew of kids that have shown promise,” Fredericks said. “The problem will be the consistency.”
Waggener said that although the team made it deep into the postseason last season, the bar is always set higher
“We went a long way last year with maybe some players that weren’t very experienced, and I think we’re expecting the same result this year,” Waggener said. “We’ve lost a lot of seniors in the last couple of years, but Coach Fredericks has taken us under his wing and get the most out of us. That’s really important, especially when some guys are coming from the lower level and might not know what it takes to compete at a high level.”
Michael Walsh, a junior infielder, is eager to help his team achieve their high expectations.
“Every year, we’re expected to win,” said Walsh, who played a few games on varsity as a sophomore last season. “The older guys are definitely there to support you, and they’re not there to put you down or anything. When I was a freshman, all the older guys were helping me out. That’s what makes L-S baseball such a great thing.”
While Walsh has enjoyed flourishing under the leadership of the older players, he’s enjoyed learning from Fredericks.
“He knows a lot,” Walsh said. “And he’s there to help us. Even the little things, he’s there to correct you and it’s great playing for him. I love it.”
Fredericks has eight juniors on the team, but a strong core of seven seniors accompanies them. Among the senior leaders are centerfielder Brian Carroll and catcher Shane Sefton – both of which add pop to lineup.
In the opening loss to Nashoba, Carroll knocked in three of the team’s five runs.
“Shane Sefton has really improved at the plate and he’s an incredible leader for us,” Fredericks said. “Brian Carroll has hit the ball well, and he’s the best athlete in the school.”
The pieces are in place for Lincoln-Sudbury to be contenders at season’s end. But for Fredericks, the task at hand is to assemble a lineup that can produce on a consistent basis.
Even more, he wants the players to know they’re capable of doing so.
“[This team] doesn’t have the confidence [last year’s team had],” Fredericks said. “They don’t have that confidence, that thing where they’ve been playing for L-S baseball for a while and that we always are successful. We’re trying to find that right now. They should have it and they’re good players.
“If they do have confidence and we do put it together, there’s no reason we can’t win many baseball games this year.”