Palm Beach High School Baseball
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Jupiter Christian Ready to Have a Big Season

Fundamentals will be a big key to success this season for Jupiter Christian

Disappointment.

That’s how head coach David Loud summed up the 2013 season for his Jupiter Christian Eagles squad. Looking to compete with the likes of of Kings Academy and Benjamin in the district, Jupiter Christian won just six games and was eliminated in the first game of the district tournament.

“We thought we could compete with Kings {Academy} and Benjamin and we did at the end of the year but it just wasn’t enough,” Loud said. “Our expectations were to get to regionals and that didn’t happen. We were close, but close doesn’t cut it.”

2013 was a struggle for this young Eagles team. After a season opening win at Boynton Beach, Jupiter Christian had a six game losing streak. They also ended the year on a six game losing streak. As a result, Loud has made a point to work on fundamentals and knowledge of the game. He even entered his team into an instructional league/tournament being held in Abacoa.

“Fundamentals are huge,” Loud said. “Also, general knowledge of the game. Playing every day, being in the cage, being around the game, and taking the mental part of the game to the next level.”

Loud hopes that all this offseason work will result in a regional birth this year for his team.

“Our goals this year are the same. We want to get to regionals and get to that district championship game,” Loud said. “If we win it great, but get to regionals and get to the next level.”

Sean Farmer has taken on a big role as a team leader, and the players trust him to set the tone.

Loud and his Eagles team have a huge advantage in that they had no seniors graduate off of last year’s team. While they did lose three players to transfers, the core of the team all returns with a year of playing together under their belt and the chemistry that is built with that. The fact that he has so many returning players is one of the reasons that he expects a lot out of his team this year.

“These guys have been playing together now for two and three years and they are still only sophomores and juniors,” Loud said. “I would say it is a huge advantage just with the team part it. Bonding, getting to know each others strengths and weaknesses. We communicate well but the non-verbal communication is huge.”

With such a young core of players returning, on-field leadership will be very important this year. Coach will look at players in key positions on the field to take over and be team leaders.

“Sean Farmer is going to step up,” Loud said. “He has been taking on that leadership role and is involved with everything. Nik Constantakos is the ace of the staff and proved what he could do as a freshman so this year we will count on him to handle the big games and the big moments. Between the two of them we have a lot of confidence. Jon Shuba is still in the outfield and he has really taken on a leadership role of taking the young guys out there under his belt and taking his game to the next level.”

Shuba is one of the few seniors on this Jupiter Christian squad, and he knows that it is his time to step up and take on that role as a team leader. He has done exactly this, and the team is benefiting from it.

“I take a lot of pride in my role as a captain,” Shuba said. “Teaching these younger guys how to play and the right way to play and knowing that they are going to succeed after they graduate. I want them to play their hardest and their best so we can win as a team.”

In addition to the leadership roles, Loud knows that if his team is going to accomplish there goal and make it regionals, he is going to need his guys to step up and put up some good numbers on the diamond as well.

“It’s got to start with those same guys. Nick has to dominate on the hill and Sean has to be our leader at the plate,” Loud said “Shane Shuba, even though he is a freshman, has a lot of potential both as a power arm and a power bat. He played in the Kings game last year and had an RBI, but we need him to be a real presence in the lineup. If those guys all do well I think we will be sitting pretty at the end.”

One big difference for Jupiter Christian this year is their district. The Eagles changed from 3A-12 to 3A-14. As a result they will no longer have to compete against Kings Academy and Benjamin but instead will have to face schools from as far south as Coral Springs and Fort Lauderdale, all the way through West Palm and up to them in Jupiter. They also move from a three-team district to a seven-team district. Despite moving into a larger district though, Loud has confidence that his team chemistry and maturity will play a large role in the success they have on the field this year.

“I think with us being better, we will be better prepared to handle the rigors of a bigger district schedule,” Loud said. “The schedule we play is still going to be hard. It’s great if we have a good regular season, but our goal is still regionals and everything is going to be centered around that district tournament.”

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