Bozeman begins summer baseball

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - One week.

For those of us who work, that's a decent amount of time off. For a high school baseball team, given that the season just ended and next season is still eight months away, that doesn't seem like much at all.

But when there's only 52 weeks in a year and the goal is to win a state championship, every day spent getting better matters.

The Bozeman Bucks are doing just that.

Coach Jeff Patton's guys are back at it again, starting summer ball one week after returning from the 1A semifinals in Fort Myers. The nine seniors on that team aren't here, of course, having fulfilled their duties masterfully for four seasons.

The returners are, making up a group of about thirty combined between the JV and varsity squads playing doubleheaders throughout the month of June.

As important as the leadership of the veterans will be, summer ball is mostly about the younger guys, all working together and excitd to be back on the field.

"It's not a big break," Patton admits, "but our guys are chomping at the bit. We lost a lot of seniors. We lost a lot of contributors to the varsity and we've got a lot of kids coming up through the JV and they want to make their name for themselves. They want to make their make next spring. They know we've been to the playoffs 13 years in a row. Next year it's going to be up to them if we make it 14, so they want to hold the rope just like the guys before them did."

Although the coaches are familiar with all the kids, this month is a learning period for everybody.

"We've got kids that were on the JV last year that are coming up to the varsity now because they're juniors or because their ability level dictates that. The summer is an opportunity for all these guys to show what they can do. In the summer, we'll be moving kids around to different positions, seeing if they can play multiple spots, hit different spots in the lineup. Basically it's a big tryout all summer to just see what each kid can do. It gives everybody an opportunity to play a little more."

The Bucks will take most of July off.