Captains look ahead to new year

Kellen Sandhas and Jeremy Ward have big goals for this year’s varsity baseball squad.

With all the crazy things going on in the MLB, right now we can only look forward to college and high school baseball. As many know our Elder Panther baseball squad is an outstanding team. However, we have two new captains who plan on making it back to the state championship.

Kellen after pitching a shutout to help advance the Panthers to state.

Last year, the Elder squad had a lot of great seniors. Marco Sabato and Jackson Grimmelsman were both huge for the team on the field and in their leadership roles. They also had guys who helped alongside them in that senior class which ultimately helped them make a run.

This year Elder named Jeremy Ward and Kellen Sandhas the two captains to represent this year’s team. They are two top players returning to this championship squad. Kellen gets it done on the mound and Jeremy at shortstop. They both elevate their games and are hoping to help elevate their teammates’ games as well.

I had the chance to talk to the two of them about their new leadership role and what it means to them. Jeremy told me, “To me it means a lot, this year it was a goal I set for myself at the very beginning of the offseason. Seeing the captains last year and how they lead the team the way they did and to get us to where we wanted to but just came up a little short, I want to continue that this year.”

Clearly, Jeremy has been training extremely hard in hopes to lead this team in more ways than just physical. As for Kellen he said, “I’m very excited to lead the team this year and I’m honored that my teammates voted me to be in this position.” Both these guys have high expectations of themselves and plan on leading this team to make a run.

Jeremy Ward getting ready to hit a bomb.

Being a captain on the football team, I have seen people lead in many different ways. One of the ways I always tried to was through example. Therefore, I was intrigued on how they planned on leading this team. Jeremy told me, “I want to be a good leader for the team, so I’m going to do anything I can for these guys to get where we want to be. Something our coaches are really big on is just doing all the little things right and everything else will follow. So, I am going to do all the little things that people might not see so these younger guys can see it and maybe learn to do the same next year.”

This response shows to how deeply Jeremy cares about the following class at Elder. He wants to lead in a way other kids learn from and can continue to give to the future players. Kellen plans on leading through experience as he says, “I think the best way is to just use my experience from last year and look back on what I struggled with as a junior and use that to help the younger guys become more comfortable.” These guys are both focused on ways to give back to Elder. They care about building a legacy that the younger classes can follow.

Everyone knows this team has a ton of potential. They have a ton of returners coming back this year and should be a top team. I asked these two guys some personal and team goals they have this year. Jeremy told me as a team they want to win GCL first. Last year they struggled at home in the GCL and he wants that to change by winning every home game. From there he has the end goal in mind of winning state. As for Kellen, he also wants to win GCL first and foremost. From there he knows they have the opportunity to make a run in the playoffs to state. However, he is focused on winning one game at a time. Both these guys have the right mindset to lead this team to greatness this season.

As for some personal goals, Jeremy hopes to be 1st team all GCL while also being at the top for batting average. Kellen also wants to be 1st team GCL and become the best teammate possible. With that said, they both told me they want a ring on their finger.

This team has a ton of potential this season with the helps of these two captains. They have a ton of upside on this team in the field and with the sticks. I expect this team to make another run to state this year with all the talent they have. Be sure to make a showing at some games this year. You will not be disappointed.