Joe Smith, Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian

Trinity baseball coach sees bigger picture in developing young team

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Despite recent prosperity in other avenues, Trinity Christian is far from having a history of success on the baseball diamond. First-year head coach Roy Schneider is looking to change that.
Luckily for Scheider, he has the perfect canvas to start with — a nearly blank one. He inherits a team that currently starts six freshmen and sophomores, with very little varsity baseball experience. Some coaches would dread the thought of trying to turn a team built like Trinity into a success story, but Schneider has a vision.
“The first thing obviously, is that the kids always buy into what your selling,” he said. “I don’t know what went on in the past with this program, but I know personally having played in college and for a successful high school program at Elkins, the kids have to buy in.”
The path to prosperity is no Sunday walk-in-the-park, though, and that lesson has hit the Warriors heavily this season. They still haven’t put it together fully — the Warriors are winless after seven games. The biggest lesson Schneider believes his team needs to learn is how to mentally mature into varsity baseball players.
“I think the first real challenge is a mental one,” Schneider said. “A lot of these kids haven’t experienced what it is like to be in some of these situations they have been exposed to. It’s hard to simulate some of this varsity experience and some of these situations these kids have found themselves in.”
“One word that comes to mind — and I’ve been sharing it with them throughout the season — everything you do has to be intentional. I’ve been constantly stressing with them, everything you do from the moment you step on the field to the moment you step off has be intentional. If you weren’t doing it to get better, then why were you doing it?”
The biggest surprise for Schneider so far may be just who it is on the team who exemplifies the mentality he’s looking for the most. Freshman catcher and second baseman Peyton Dixon has slid into a natural leadership role, earning the honor of being named team captain by Schneider.
He hopes that Dixon’s communication skills and baseball IQ serve as a model for other players. For Dixon, the responsibilities of the job can be a challenge to live up, but he makes sure that he does everything he can to help the team succeed.
“There’s a lot of things to do. If there’s fighting, I need to stop it. I have to call out where the plays are, and off-the-field, I’m still helping put stuff away and other responsibilities. I have to try and help the team play better,” Dixon said. “It can be hard to have some of the upperclassmen to listen to a freshman as captain. I was kind of shocked that he gave it to me. I thought there were some other kids on the team who deserved it before me.”
In building the Warriors’ program, Schneider said he wants to build off of small victories that he hopes will one day lead to big wins.
“We’re not looking at the short-term here,” he said. “Kids at bigger schools — University and Morgantown — don’t get to step on the field like this as freshmen a lot. You always want to win. It’s hard not to, but when you’re thinking about development you have to give up winning for awhile for the sake of the small wins. I’ve already seen some of those small wins.
“You watch these beatings as a coach and you wonder if you’re being productive but then you get to the end of the game and you realize you just put up five runs on some of the best juniors and seniors in the state. That’s optimistic.”