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New Identity in Broadway
By Tyler Carney
After ending last season by getting swept in round 1 and finishing last in the regular season heads were down in Broadway. After giving up 7 plus runs in each of their two playoff games to the Bucks something had to change and over the offseason the Bruins seemed to have tried to make that change. Selecting long time player Bryce Strawderman as manager who currently has 2 years of assistant coaching experience with EMU.
Strawderman is embracing the role. “The excitement to get in there and manage my own team is great… I’ll be coaching some of the guys I used to play with and I have a lot of trust in those guys,” said Strawderman.
Broadway has had recent success however. In 2020 they won the league with a sweep in the finals in a team that included Strawderman and now he is using his playing connections to bring successful players back to Broadway.
Austin Whetzel, Tyler Ault, and Kevin Rush were all a part of that championship team and we’ll get to see them again in 2023. All are infielders, with Rush being a two way, and is setting up to be an exciting unit that Strawderman has a ton of faith in. Along with the best of the 2022 team Broadway will have some familiar faces.
The club is bringing in new faces too with a few very solid James Wood High players to round off the roster. When asked about the new look of the team Strawderman describes it as a “New year” with a “New identity” for the club.
This new face idea has come in the form of a revamped pitching staff. The Bruins were 5th in general pitching stats last season and they had the least amount of wins on the mound across the entire league. Only punching in 173 strikeouts and walking over a hundred batters. As a club the Bruins had a poor 6.44 ERA however Strawderman had some idea on how to fix it.
“Getting new guys in to really beef up our bullpen and eat up time on the bump,” said Strawderman, “ We are featuring a nearly fifty/fifty split of righties and lefties and we have some sweet lefties coming in”
Strawderman is excited to get going with his pitching crew, Jett Shue is a returner on the mound and while he put together some solid hitting will need to keep up with the teams new identity in the bullpen, however as said before Strawderman has a ton of faith in his guys.
The Bruins do return a good lineup who finished 3rd in general hitting stats with Jayden Nixon with 16 RBIs from last season and Trevor Thomas who drove in 13. The team should see the same success at the plate.
With the league going back to its pre-covid 28 game regular season format the action now spreads farther into the summer leading Strawderman to be worried about his playoff push. “You know I want to play with a full lineup and I may lose some guys to school ball right as the playoff push comes about and maybe some of my best guys can’t be there, it worries me,” said Strawderman. Bruins fans should hope this roster becomes well rounded quickly.
The biggest improvement Strawderman wants to see out of his new look club is the heart to compete. “ I wanna go compete for a championship, last year I think guys were just complacent with just being there.. Getting that mentality of going and competing day in and day out.”
Lofty goals and a Bruins team with a new identity are set to begin play Tuesday May 23rd against Grottoes at Shifflett Field.
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