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A familiar face will lead Xavier baseball this summer

HS journalism: New coach know the team, players well

Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Garrett Ries hits the ball during a Class 3A district final against Marion last season at Marion High School. Ries is excited for the 2018 season to begin and has high hopes for the Saints. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Garrett Ries hits the ball during a Class 3A district final against Marion last season at Marion High School. Ries is excited for the 2018 season to begin and has high hopes for the Saints. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — For many, a new head coach can bring many changes.

But for the Cedar Rapids Xavier baseball team, this transition has gone fairly smooth. It helps when the new coach, Dan Halter, was the former assistant coach.

“I am very honored to be the head baseball coach at Xavier,” Halter said. “We have a rich tradition built with great coaches and players. It is a tremendous opportunity with great kids that are fun to be around.”

Halter was the head sophomore coach from 2012 to 2015, and was the varsity assistant in 2016 and ’17. Halter has been around the program and knows how it functions best.

Having this familiar face step in has aided immensely in the coaching adjustments.

“Halter has been with the program as an assistant coach for the past few years and I’m excited for him to lead us,” senior pitcher Will Angstman said. “I don’t think there will be much of a transition because he has been in the program and we are all comfortable and used to him being a coach for us.”

Although official practice started April 30, members of the team have been practicing and competing in a spring league, preparing for their regular-season games. Despite not being able to play in some of their spring league games due to weather cancellations, Halter likes what he sees in the team this year.

“The biggest thing that has stood out in spring workouts and games is that we have strong depth and will have a lot of competition for every spot, which we expected,” Halter said. “Guys have put the time in, worked hard, and meshed well together. If that continues and everyone buys in to accepting and excelling at their given role on a day, good things will happen.”

The Saints went 18-21 last season and, even though it is early, hope to see improvements in their game this season.

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“We want to make it to Des Moines and get a state title this year,” junior catcher Garrett Ries said. “We have been hitting the ball great, been having good defense, and our pitchers have been throwing a lot of strikes. All of this is making me very excited for this summer season.”

Xavier opens the regular season on Monday against Linn-Mar in the Metro tournament at Washington High School. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.

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