Ogallala Adams Bank and Trust seniors relying on skill and chemistry on small team
The Ogallala Adams Bank and Trust senior baseball team is a small group, with only 12 players on the roster. However, head coach Gary Kobaugh does not see that as a detriment.
"If the boys stay healthy and do everything correct, don't get hurt, which we know that's hard to do, but we have no challenges, I feel, unless we drop one or two players," Kobaugh said.
Kobaugh believes the Ogallala team is talented. Three players, Jordan Callihan, Lane Blackwell, and John Hoewitzki, were freshmen on the Nebraska Wesleyan University baseball team this spring, Kaden Laviegerre will be going to Hastings College next year to play baseball, and Alex Patrick is headed to NWU for football.
Callihan, Blackwell, and Hoewitzki have brought their experience from their first season in college back to the team, and are using that experience to help out their teammates.
"They work as a player coach. When [assistant coach] Joe [Callihan] and I are busy with other guys, we've always got Jordan, Lane and John helping us out as we do drills," Kobaugh said.
"It helps a lot," Blackwell said, "it's a lot different, it's a lot faster pace, a lot more reps. I think learning that and taking it back here and applying it to high school kids, it's great and it helps a lot."
A majority of the roster is comprised of kids from Ogallala and Paxton, and have played with each other for a long time.
"Ten of the 12 kids have been together for four or five years. They've grown up together, they hang out together, they play baseball together. They've just been together forever, that's going to be a key, and that's what's going to keep us together, and what's going to win us a lot of ballgames this year," Kobaugh said.
Despite being from different towns, the players are all very close.
"The relationships between me and the guys from Ogallala has always been tight, throughout every sport," said Callihan, who is from Paxton. "We always support them and whatever they're doing, and living in different towns hasn't changed anything, we still find ways to get together even when it's not baseball season."
In fact, the players have friendly rivalries during the school year amongst other sports, since the two towns are so close.
"Last year, especially during basketball, there was a lot of talk of who was better. But, there were no hard feelings, it was all good fun. We're all good friends in the end, we all support each other no matter what," Callihan said.
The first game of the season for the Adams Bank and Trust seniors is June 18, at Gering. The coaches and players are ready for the season to start.
"I'm excited to be here, I feel blessed to be able to play baseball. I think the boys are the same way, we're just happy to be able to play baseball," Kobaugh said.
"None of us really knew if we'd have any baseball this summer, we're thankful for the games that we do have, even if it's not a regular season," Blackwell said. "We've been waiting all quarantine to get out on the field and play some baseball, so it'll be pretty fun and everybody will be pretty amped up."
"We weren't sure if we'd get a full season or not, so it's really good to be out here," Callihan said. "We're just grateful to be out here, we're savoring every minute."