Bethel Royals’ pregame habits lead to success on the field.
By Josh Towner
Sophomore Hannah Hensley steps out of the dugout. She taps her cleats with the bat, knocking loose dirt and grass off of them. She approaches the batter’s box while clearing her mind of distractions. “Stay loose,” she thinks to herself. As she reaches the box, she draws a straight line in the box from the far side of home plate to the side nearest to her. She then swings her bat out at the pitcher and waits for the ball.
Freshman Delia Labatt strides onto the track. She bounces like a kangaroo a couple of times, slides down onto her hands, and bounces back into the blocks. She then whispers “God give me strength,” and takes a deep breath until the gun sounds. After that, she bursts off the blocks running as fast as she can.
Senior Lars Anderson stands in the dugout before going out to bat. He goes through a sequence of tapping specific pressure points across his face and body, relaxing himself. He steps out of the dugout and heads for the plate. As he walks, he remembers a time when he felt at his best, and he lets that feeling come back to him. He reaches the plate, and reminds himself to have fun and just focus on the ball.
Almost every athlete has some kind of routine that they do before they play. These routines often translate to success, which the Bethel baseball team has demonstrated this season. Before every game, the team circles up at center field and stretches. A few upper classmen step into the circle and give a speech before the game, and then they close in prayer. This routine helps the team focus on succeeding for God. The team is currently ranked twenty-fifth by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Junior Austin Ledin was named the division three hitter of the week and freshman Jake Marsh was named MIAC pitcher of the week in March.
As Jake Marsh heads to the mound, he says a quick prayer. When he reaches the mound, he looks to the sky and asks, “whom shall I fear?” Between prayer and the team’s strength, Marsh has grown confident.
“I’ve been going to the mound with a ton of confidence in myself, and it comes from the confidence we have as a team. Our defense is so good that I don’t have to worry about making mistakes because I know they have my back,” Marsh said.
On the offensive side of the ball, the team is firing on all cylinders.
“We’re coming in at one-hundred percent every day,” Ledin said. “The whole [batting] lineup is really good, and other people show up in games even if you don’t.” Ledin was recognized in March for hitting twelve of eighteen and driving in eleven runs over the course of 6 games.
Both Marsh and Ledin chalk it up to great team play. Last season, the team finished at a frustrating 19-19, prompting serious change this year. The team oriented around playing as a group and practicing hard. “We set the tone in practice. We have to come out and play hard and compete every day regardless of our talent. We have to play together otherwise we won’t win,” captain Mitch Fredrickson said.
Mitch Fredrickson poses for a picture in a game against Northwestern last year. Mitch was named a captain this year and has helped lead the team to a hot start. “We set the tone in practice. We have to come out and play hard and compete every day regardless of our talent. We have to play together otherwise we won’t win,” said Fredrickson. Photo by Nathan Klok
Austin Ledin hits the ball in a game against St. Thomas last season. Ledin was named Division Three hitter of the week back in March. “We’re coming in at one-hundred percent every day. The whole [batting] lineup is really good, and other people show up in games even if you don’t,” said Ledin. Photo by Carl Schmuland
Freshman Jake Marsh celebrates a win over Buena Vista with the team. Marsh was named MIAC pitcher of the week at the end of March. “I’ve been going to the mound with a ton of confidence in myself, and it comes from the confidence we have as a team… Our defense is so good that I don’t have to worry about making mistakes because I know they have my back,” Marsh said. Photo by Nathan Klok