We all understand the Spring weather can be very unpredictable. Temperatures go up and down and we might get rain or even snow. One pretty safe forecast, however, is that during baseball season the Creek will rise.
Since first stepping onto the diamond back in 2014, success has been synonymous with Stewart’s Creek high school baseball. Under the guidance of head coach Mike Bartlett, the Redhawks have flown to the state tournament three times since he started the program. The Creek crested in 2017 with a state runner-up finish at the Class AAA Spring Fling. Achieving that type of success in a highly competitive Rutherford County climate has been pretty incredible, to say the least.
The 2022 edition has hopes of joining those past teams with a memorable run through the post-season. Entering the week at 18-4, Stewart’s Creek has a chance to complete a perfect league season and host the District 8 tournament beginning May 5.
Powerful pitching has been one of the keys to the Creek’s rise this season. Senior Brett Vondohlen has stepped into the starting rotation and been a force on a strong staff.
“Our pitching has been as good as we have ever had”, says Bartlett. “These guys pound the zone and throw lots of strikes. This is the first season we have used Vondohlen a lot as a starter and he has been very good on the mound. We can usually count on him for five or six solid innings and the kid has been very good at the plate too.”
Pitching isn’t the only thing that has contributed to the high waters. A solid lineup that plays both small and long ball has put up some pretty gaudy numbers thus far. Seniors like Reggie Cooper and Bryce Jackson blend speed and power which equals flash flood warnings.
“Top to bottom I think this is the fastest lineup we have ever put on the field”, says the veteran head coach. “We have lots of kids that can hit for power, but we need to cut down on our strikeouts. Our kids have been getting better at putting the ball in play but we still need to improve.”
The relatively short history of Stewart’s Creek baseball has been very decorated. Winning may not always breed winning, but expectations have been created on these baseball banks for sure.
“As a coaching staff we have very high expectations of our teams”, says Bartlett. “Sometimes I may need to back up a bit, but we set lofty goals with hopes of lofty achievements. I like where this team is at right now, but we always want to maintain a hunger. The current players that lost in last year’s region final have been very good about keeping this group focused.”
Stewart’s Creek will close out their district regular season with a two-game series against Cane Ridge on April 25 and 26.