WEBSTER CITY - The roller coaster ride that was Troy Smock's first season at the helm of the Webster City baseball coach had more twists and turns than the skipper would have liked.
That giant hill the Lynx dropped off in the first couple weeks of the 2013 season wasn't fun for anyone, which is why Smock says these first few games of the new campaign are vitally important.
"We did not start the season great last year. We played some good baseball, but we also played some really bad baseball," Smock, who will start his second season in the dugout tonight when the Lynx host South Central Calhoun at 7:30 p.m., said. "So many times last year there were games where it ripped your heart out because we were so close. If we can get off with a quick start and play well this year, I think the kids will be more comfortable."
WCHS opened last season on a five-game losing skid. The Lynx dropped 11 of their first 13 contests before finally righting the ship with four straight wins in mid-June.
That surge needs to happen quicker this season, Smock said, and with plenty of experienced players back in the mix he doesn't see a reason why WCHS should struggle.
The Lynx return 10 players with significant varsity experience, including a stable of pitchers that got plenty of mound time a season ago.
"The first three weeks (of practice) have been good," Smock said. "The seniors we have back, I think I know where they're going to fit in and I know what they can do."
Seniors Dylan Fielder (.373 average in 2013), Ben Mossman (.365) and Trey Tesdahl (.341) were among the team's top hitters last season. Mossman laced a team-best 31 hits, while Fielder was the top bomber with four home runs and 18 runs batted in.
"We have a lot of hitting back and hopefully we'll be better than we were last year," Smock said.
Junior Daniel Halko led the pitching staff in innings pitched (462?3); Fielder, Doug Stoakes and Cameron Gordon all worked 20-plus innings. Mossman, Cal Zahn and Jordan Myers also figure into the stable of arms Smock can throw out there.