High hopes for Cardinals

Posted 3/17/09

With a new head coach, a goal for a playoff season and nothing to lose, the Elizabeth Cardinals baseball team is ready to face the tough competition …

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High hopes for Cardinals

Posted

With a new head coach, a goal for a playoff season and nothing to lose, the Elizabeth Cardinals baseball team is ready to face the tough competition this season, working to surprise some teams along the way.

After 11 years of coaching, two as the assistant and junior varsity coach at Elizabeth, Tom Rasmussen is ready to step up to the plate as the head coach who is hoping to take his team to the next level this season.

Last year, the Cardinals did not make it to the playoff season and this year that is their No. 1 goal. Because of a short season last year, Rasmussen said the team is not expected to do much in the league, but he believes they can.

“Anyone can beat anyone at any given time,” he said. “We shouldn’t have any troubles competing with these teams, but we have to be focused.”

One of the toughest teams the Cardinals will face is Wheat Ridge, a team that dropped from 5A to 4A this year. Evergreen and Golden will also challenge the Cardinals this season. Rasmussen is aware of the strong teams, but knows any team is capable of competing successfully.

“There is always a dark horse that sneaks up on you and I hope we are that dark horse,” he said.

Rasmussen said the team’s main focus is playing an aggressive and smart game. The little things like getting the bunt on the ground and moving runners up on the bases are requirements of each game. Although at a recent game March 14, the Cardinals beat Platte Valley 20-6, Rasmussen knows they will not have that kind of blowout every time.

“We have to throw strikes and play good defense,” he said, “[by] putting pressure on the team so they can fold and we can capitalize on their mistakes.”

Positive attitudes are also a must on the Cardinal team. Rasmussen said this year the team is working on being supportive of one another on the field or on the bench. He reminds all the players of the importance of backing each other up at all times.

“All the players need to be engaged in the game and encouraging of their teammates,” he said. “If they don’t fulfill that kind of attitude, they won’t be prepared when they step on the field and they are letting their teammates down because there will be a time when they will be out there and will need the same encouragement.”

So far the Cardinals have experienced some wins and some losses. After a big win, the team works even harder in order to not become satisfied with the success, always striving for more. And after a loss, the team takes a pat on the back from Rasmussen moving forward and learning from their mistakes.

Winning is the obvious best part about baseball for Rasmussen, but the road to that success is the true reason he is still part of the game. He said watching players progress in their skills and achieve their goals makes all the time spent practicing worth while.

“Most of the kids don’t realize how good they could be if they just pushed themselves a little bit harder,” he said. “So watching them strive for perfection and realizing their potential is great.”

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