The New Caney Eagles have a young and inexperienced roster. Though the season has been a challenge, the baseball program has been able to develop their young squad so they are better prepared for the future. Success doesn’t come without some growing pains and New Caney has focused on fighting through the growing pains this season. Head Coach Donald Randell talked about how the team has been focusing on the future and his historic journey to 500.
New Caney has had some ups and downs this season. The coaching staff knew that there would be some challenges at certain positions especially with the loss of certain players to graduation and injury. Michael Moreno was supposed to be the number one starter for the Eagles but was shut down after labrum surgery over the summer. Thus, there were 7 first time starters on the field this season for the Eagles. “We badly need experience. As time has gone by we’ve gotten better and better, I just wish we would’ve had a lot longer to get prepared,” Coach Randell stated.
Throughout last season, New Caney held strong and were in the playoff hunt for a majority of the season but fell just short in end and missed the playoffs. Now that this season has all but wrapped up, the focus is on continuing to grow. They’re in a situation that they’re not familiar with and building for the future has been their goal. “We’re putting them in situations to see what they can do and we’ve taken a few lumps because of it, but they’re getting better and we want to see that growth continue,” Coach Randell admitted.
The hardship of the season may have been difficult at times with such an inexperienced ball club, but there have been guys that have stepped up and made something out of the season with their hard work and leadership. CF Trevor Johnson could be the comeback player of the year for the baseball program after suffering football injuries since his freshman season. “We weren’t counting on him to pitch but he’s turned into our number one pitcher,” Coach Randell said. 2B Jordan Crackel has been having a great season in his junior year campaign. LF Colton Bridges has done a good job for the Eagles in the coaching staff’s opinion and it’s only his first season on varsity. A young player that is up and coming is sophomore Kabe Pechonic. “He has a chance to be really good,” Coach Randell mentioned.
Senior first baseman Dustin Miertschin saw the improvement of the team throughout the season. He noticed that the errors were what was holding them back a lot this season. “Our defense just needs to get better for the pitchers and we need to take every opportunity we have to get an out,” Miertschin said. Junior second baseman Jordan Crackel knows that they’re a young team trying to learn and believes they will come out strong next season and surprise a lot of people. “We just have to square up the ball more, play solid defense, and we’ll be fine,” Crackel said.
On a bright spot, Coach Randell earned his 500th victory this season at home and joined a very small group of coaches to have accomplished this feat. “It’s been a long road and I’ve been very fortunate to have been around this long and I’m very proud that I was able to accomplish that at my home school. I’m proud of what we’ve done over the years here, our body of work, and all the great kids we’ve produced,” Coach Randell stated.
The boys participate in the Eagles Angels. Coach Randell was a co-sponsor for the event. It’s a program that provides Christmas for underprivileged families. On average, 10 families are selected each year by the program. A collection is rounded up during the year to use towards the gifts that they buy for the families. “That’s been very gratifying and the kids have done well with that,” Coach Randell said.
Donald Randell attended New Caney High School where he played what he coaches now. He then went on to play ball at the University of Houston and after he graduated he began his coaching career shortly there after. He contributes his career to the many coaches he’s been around throughout his life but said his parents influenced him more than anyone. Very strong in their faith, his parents pushed him to be the very best he could be. “I’m very thankful for what they gave me,” Coach Randell stated.
Written by Mark M. Johnson