While Dustin Lewis is new to the head coaching position, he’s very familiar with Crothersville High School’s baseball program.
After playing for the Tigers for four years in high school, the 2009 CHS grad returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in ‘15 when Jared Richey took over head coaching duties.
Richey announced his departure from the team last spring, which opened up the opportunity for Lewis to take the reins.
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Lewis accepted the duties and will lead the Tigers on the diamond this spring.
Above any final result, Lewis expects to have a hard-nosed group of young men on the field.
“I’ve always been a big ‘play like we practice’ coach,” Lewis said. “We always practice and play hard. From the time we step on the field to the time we step off the field, I want to see them giving 110 percent no matter what. If we’re having a bad day, I want them to still give it everything they’ve got. If they’re having a good day, they need to kick it up a notch.”
In 2019, the Tigers field a young lineup.
They have just two seniors on this year’s roster, but 15 total players came out for the team. Six players are juniors, three are from the sophomore class and four freshmen are on the squad.
Tigers senior Logan Brewer said the team is working hard to get ready for the season, which will open April 2 at Jac-Cen-Del.
“So far, it’s going pretty good,” Brewer said. “We have a lot more guys this year than we did last. We have a lot of sophomores and juniors that have stepped up and decided to come out this year. So far, they have been looking like a good addition. Everyone here has been working hard. We are trying to stay focused and work out the kinks.”
Lewis said Brewer will pick up a lot of pitching duties, and he expects juniors Briar Robinson and Carson Farmer and sophomore Christian Henry to also see time on the mound.
Brewer said the coaching transition has gone smoothly.
“Our coach was with us last year as an assistant, and we have basically been doing the same stuff,” he said. “What’s funny is what’s important now is the fundamentals and working with the younger guys that haven’t played much. We’re trying to get everything down. The simple stuff is what is going to help us win ballgames.”
Fellow senior Jacob James said he’s also trying to help lead the team in every way he can.
“I try to be the best leader I can possibly be,” James said. “If they start getting lazy, I tell them to hustle. I think we will have a good season as long as we keep improving and hustling. We need to keep working hard.”
Lewis said the team has been working on its strengths and weaknesses in the offseason.
“I think our fielding will be a strength. We’ve been hitting it hard,” Lewis said. “They’ve been giving me everything they’ve got. I think we will be able to make some big plays and take care of the routine plays.
“We need to work on our hitting. We haven’t’ had much opportunity with hitting yet, and I think we could struggle with it a little bit; however, I have no doubt in my mind that these guys can really rip a ball when they want to.”
Last year, the Tigers had a record of 4-12. Crothersville ended its season with a West Washington Sectional semifinals loss to Orleans. The Bulldogs went on to beat Trinity Lutheran for the title.
In the 2018 season, the Tigers made it to the sectional finals before falling to Trinity. The Tigers have never won a sectional crown.
Lewis said he has high hopes for his team, and he likes the direction it’s headed.
“These guys are amazing,” Lewis said. “It doesn’t matter what you ask them, you get very little complaints. They just go with it. It’s a great group.”