By Eugenio Torrens
Everything seems like business as usual for the Bishop McLaughlin baseball team.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 21-8 season that included a regional semifinals appearance and have started this year 9-4.
First-year Bishop McLaughlin coach Tom LoSauro has to be content with how his team has come out of the gates.
“It’s been a tough year for all of our guys being that I’m so new,” LoSauro said. “Everyone’s learning the system. The seniors are learning the system. The way it’s supposed to work is the older guys bring the young guys along slowly because they’ve been through it before.”
LoSauro came from Fort Myers Bishop Verot Catholic, where his team won the Class 3A state championship in 2011.
The new coach’s credentials aren’t questioned, and, along with his resume, LoSauro has brought a more cerebral approach to the game.
“A lot of strategies. He’s very smart in the game,” said senior infielder Ty Cooler.
New terminology, signs, quirks, tendencies, likes, dislikes and a new personality that 13 varsity players have to mesh with in the roughly two months leading up to the season.
“There’s some things we’re still learning, but I think we’re pretty comfortable with him,” said senior pitcher Andy Olaniel.
Luckily for the new man at the helm, LoSauro is coming into a stable baseball program at Bishop McLaughlin.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” LoSauro said. “I don’t feel like there’s as much pressure to win and not miss a beat as much as I feel a comfort level that these guys have a certain expectation level of themselves. They know how to win; they’ve experienced winning. That is a good feeling as a coach to come into.”
Even a team full of experienced winners can’t dull the growing pains that accompany a change in coaching staff.
“I like how we’re starting to play as a team now,” said junior pitcher Tanner Koch. “We’re starting to gain some team chemistry. At the start of the season not everyone was together. I feel like everyone was trying to impress him at the start. Now, I feel like everyone’s starting to settle down.”
The Hurricanes have two quality starting pitchers in Olaniel and Koch, with Colton Nussel and Josh Falk coming in as reliable relief.
“The area we thought we’d need to work the greatest on has proved to be a little bit of Achilles heel — our defense isn’t where we want it to be,” LoSauro said.
He wasn’t too worried his defense would shore up. His bigger concern out of the starting blocks is hitting.
But LoSauro knows not to get too worked up after a 13-game sample size because there is plenty of time for improvement.
“You win championships — in high school — you win those in April and May,” LoSauro said. “You’re not going to win them in February and March. No matter how good you are in February, you have to be better in April.”
Bishop McLaughlin hosts Key West on March 20 at 7 p.m.
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