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Coventry baseball coach seeing improvement

4/24/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COVENTRY — Coventry High School baseball head coach Wilmer Caraballo said he has seen improvement in his young players as the season has progressed, especially on the mound.

“My pitchers have gotten better,” he said. “Most of the staff is really young, and they are learning how to pitch. They are still learning the league and I think they have done a really good job, especially in the last three or four games. The biggest improvement has been throwing strikes. When we started, we were walking a lot of batters, but in the last few games, our pitchers have been throwing more strikes. I think our pitching has been keeping us in the games, and I think our pitching has been our strength so far.”

Right now, Caraballo said, there are six pitchers in Coventry’s rotation: junior Jimmy Farkas, freshman Justin Sarver, freshman Kyle Black, junior Dempsey Maag, junior Cody Woicehovich and senior Devin Elekes.

“I don’t like to pitch kids more than 95 to 100 pitches in a game,” he said. “So I kind of rotate them more often than other people do.”

At the plate, Caraballo said, Coventry is off to a bit of a slow start, but the bats are starting to pick up.

“The last couple games, we’ve gotten seven or eight hits a game, where at the start of the season we were only getting three or four hits a game,” the coach said. “We just have to continue to try to be more aggressive. At the beginning, we were taking too many pitches, and that comes with how young they are. But I’m an aggressive coach, and I like kids to swing the bat, especially if the pitches are strikes. We started out striking out a lot, but in the last couple games, less hitters have been taking the first pitch for a strike. I’ve been happy with how they are improving in that regard, and I think it will get a lot better before the year is over.”

According to Caraballo, the team’s best overall player so far has been Elekes, the team’s only senior.

“Last year, he made first team and this year he only has one error, and he’s hitting over .535, with a home run and eight or nine RBIs so far,” the coach said. “He’s a good hitter, a smart player and a decent pitcher, also. I want him to continue to play his position (third base) well and I want him to be seen by college scouts.”

Another key player for Coventry this season is sophomore Aric Roberts.

“He’s hitting like .425,” Caraballo said. “He is a versatile player. He catches and plays at first and third. He was a freshman last year and never played varsity ball. So he’s a first-year varsity player, and he’s kind of shocked us because hitting was one of his weakest points in junior varsity, and this year he’s hitting over 400. It’s kind of amazing how good he’s done so far.”

The coach said he thinks catcher Jimmy Farkas is ready to step up his production in the batter’s box.

“Jimmy’s been one of my best hitters, but he’s struggling right now,” Caraballo said. “We’ve been working on hitting and I expect in the next nine or 10 games that he should be able to hit over .350 or .400.”

Through April 21, Coventry was out to a 1-8 start to the season, but Caraballo said the team is right about where he expected it would be.

“We have a lot of young kids,” he said. “We are going with a lot of freshmen and sophomores, and we only have one senior, so I expected that it was going to be a rough year. I think we’re going to have to remain calm and have a lot of patience this year. It’s definitely a rebuilding year.”

For the remainder of the season, Caraballo said the team’s primary focus is on continuous improvement.

“It’s all about playing well,” he said. “I’m not going to go as much by wins and losses, but it’s more about how much we improve from the first day of the season to the last day. If we can win a few more games and play well, I’ll be happy.”

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