PREP BASEBALL OPINION: Central Hardin not satisfied with fast start (04/09)

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By Chuck Jones

Never satisfied.

It is the mantra Central Hardin coach Todd Thompson used in his playing days and it is the same as a coach, which has made him successful at both. He has built the Bruins into the premier program in the 5th Region. Even after winning the state championship in 2011, Thompson kept an eye on the future, wanting the program to keep pushing for more.

This year’s Bruins have adopted the same philosophy. Although they are pleased with their 12-0 start heading into today’s game against Elizabethtown, the Bruins aren’t satisfied. They understand success now doesn’t guarantee them anything later in the season.

It’s not about winning in the months of March and April that count. Winning in the postseason is the only thing that matters.

“We’re not satisfied with how we’re playing,” Central Hardin junior Josh Krupinski said. “We’ll start paying attention to records in the postseason. These games are just scrimmages.”

Central Hardin is one of only four undefeated teams – Bullitt East, Collins and Lawrence County are the others – left in the state. It’s a streak worth celebrating. In baseball, winning streaks can end on so many things. A team runs into a hot pitcher or hot lineup, the bats go cold all of a sudden, or maybe it’s a strange hop of the ball.

The Bruins, though, aren’t concerned with the streak. They don’t care if it lasts another game, another week or another month. Their focus isn’t on their record, but themselves.

“We know we have to continue to work hard,” Central Hardin senior Troy Squires said. “We don’t care about our record. We have to do the things we need to do to continue to get better. We’re not there yet. The sky’s the limit for this team if we continue to work hard. For the most part, we’ve done that.”

There are no shortcuts to success. To achieve consistent success, players have to be willing to put in the time to attain greatness. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Squires realizes that from his own experiences. He was a part of the state championship team and he saw first-hand the time players like Russ Morse and Austin Walters put in. It wasn’t just the work during practice. It’s what the players did in the offseason and what they did before and after practice.

The Bruins have a dominant one-two punch on the mound in senior Drew Harrington and junior Josh Krupinski. They have a potent lineup with seniors Alex Crowder and Zach Ditto and junior Troy Riggs along with Harrington and Squires. They could be a good defensive team. Central Hardin has the tools to be a special team.

“We can always get better in all parts of the game,” Harrington said. “We have to keep improving. I think that’s the main thing. We’ve been getting better from where we were at the start of the season and where we are now. We have to continue to do that. We have to keep working hard.”

There isn’t a substitute for hard work. Players have to be willing to push themselves whether it’s taking extra swings in the batting cages to fielding additional ground balls after practice.

That’s what successful players do, and in turn, that’s how winning teams are built.

“We’ve got so much room for improvement,” Crowder said. “We’re doing good right now, but we can be so much better. We have to work harder in practice. We’ve got a great group of guys who work hard in practice. There’s not one lazy guy on the team. That’s what I like about this team. Everyone works hard because we know we can be better.”

Does that sound like a team content with its early season success?

That’s because the Bruins aren’t.

Chuck Jonesis the sports editor for The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or cjones@thenewsenterprise.com.