BY WILL WILLEMS
DOVER — The Western Boone baseball team has a new man in charge.
Cesar Barrientos was picked to run the Stars this season, replacing Dave Sloan, who led Western Boone to a 8-14 record a season ago.
”I am super excited,” Barrientos said in a phone interview Tuesday night. “I am really excited to build a program.”
Western Boone has struggled in recent baseball seasons.
The past four years they have gone 29-79 and have reached double digit wins just once.
Barrientos will also be the fourth different coach in four seasons.
Barrientos said getting rid of that culture is one of the toughest parts of the job.
“Not really having a baseball tradition set is going to be hard,” Barrientos said. “We are going to be starting from scratch from the youth levels on up. I told my parents at a meeting that once we start creating a buzz with the third, fourth and fifth grade kids they start getting excited to play. That is how you start a program. I have already talked with the little league and travel teams around the area. We are going to be having some winter camps and coaches clinics so that the kids can see what I want to do.”
This will be the first high school head coaching job for Barrientos, but he is used to working with high school students.
He has run the Indiana Baseball Academy for about 10 years and has also helped coach at Zionsville High School.
“Me being heavily involved in IBA is going to help me a lot,” Barrientos said. “That has allowed me to coach and train kids of all ages and experience levels. I have been lucky enough to been involved in recruiting in a lot of areas — as a facilitator, as a parent and as a coach. At IBA we have hosted many recruiting clinics weekends for coaches of all divisions. That helps because I can tell kids who want to play at the next level what coaches are looking for and how we are going to teach them that.”
Barrientos said he has been able to meet with the team and parents and they were excited for him to take over.
“It helps that I know several of them,” Barrientos said. “I have attachments to several of them through IBA. So coming in I have an attachment to the Western Boone community. They were pretty excited to see me and I am excited to start coaching at the high school.”
Barrientos said his passion for the game of baseball will show on the field.
“This is what I do,” he said. “That is the one thing I really wanted them to know — this is my life. Baseball is truly, genuinely all I do. I still play recreationally, and my family is still very involved in playing and coaching. This is our life.”
One of the other adjustments Barrientos has been dealing with as working out the schedules of the players for off-season workouts.
Many of the Star players are involved in one or two other sports.
Barrientos said it is important that the first time the Stars pick up their glove isn’t the first day of practice.
“We have already run into those roadblocks a little bit,” Barrientos said, noting the Stars starting meeting this week at 6 a.m. “I have already talked with the football and basketball coaches about it. My goal is not to have them focus on one sport. But if you go to a bigger school, they will have 30 kids at winter workouts. If we had our baseball only kids there it would be like three. I understand the dynamics of being multi-sport athletes and as much as I support them, we can’t pick it up in February or March and expect to be competitive. My goal isn’t to have the football kids come in early on a Friday morning and wear them out before the game. For the kids in other sports, I just want them to come as much as they can. We aren’t going to be working on conditioning them, I expect the kids in those sports to be in good shape. We are going to be working on footwork, handwork,arm slots for pitchers, positioning of catchers, things like that so when we get to the spring we can hit the ground running.”
Barrientos concluded the interview reiterating how ready he is to get underway.
“Some of our guys came in wearing shirts that said ‘tradition’,” Barrientos said. “And the tradition really starts now. The one thing I stressed is I would never ask them to do something I wasn’t willing to do. If I ask them to show up at 6 a.m., I’ll be there at 6 a.m. I’m looking forward to the guys coming in and start believing what we are doing.”