The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
This past Monday I received a text from my friend Chris George from Elkins. He does the play by play for the Bridgeport baseball games and he asked me to join him on last Wednesday’s broadcast. I immediately told him yes for three simple reasons: Chris is not only a good friend he is an excellent broadcaster, Indian Head Coach Robert Shields and I go way back to the early 90’s when I was his assistant basketball coach at South Harrison, and his teams are always fundamentally sound and fun to watch. Besides, the Indian program has three consecutive Class AA State Championships and I was curious to see if they had what it took to compete for a “fourth” in a row.
When I arrived at the baseball complex, I was taken aback by the vast improvements made to the facility. The gem of the park was a behemoth of a press box that is not only tops in Harrison County, but it’s safe to say that it would rival any in the Mountain State. The bottom level houses bathrooms and a concession stand, while the top level sports an oversized broadcast/PA area, a players clubhouse/lounge area, and of course, a coaches room for one of the best baseball coaches to ever grace the diamond in the state. Speaking of legendary baseball coaches, former state champ Pete Iquinto is on the Indians coaching staff.
The view from which to broadcast from is absolutely perfect and there are no space issues whatsoever. The player’s room has a huge couch, some tables and Direct TV. The only report that I can’t give is one on the coaches’ room (I didn’t have VIP credentials, so I wasn’t allowed entrance). Of course, that was just a joke. The real reason is why the Tribe has been so successful for so long…Shields was too busy. Once he gets to the field, the wheels and legs start moving. Shields is thinking about everything from the starting line up to the opposing teams personnel. He is focused on match-ups and game scenarios, all the while working on the field. I stole a few words from him while he was busy with a rake in hand. He never stopped working the entire time we were talking. A sign of a great coach is that they truly care about their players and their program. Well, Shields does that and a whole lot more. While he was working on the field, he was providing marching orders to various players to either help to prepare the field or themselves for battle.
The words didn’t stop there. While his team was taking infield, Shields was hard at work hitting balls and providing knowledge with short sentences to his players on how to improve. They listened and learned and so did I, because I was sitting in the best seat in the house.
I know you want to know about the team and how they looked. Well let’s just say it was business as usual. They produced timely hits, capitalized on their opportunities, played solid defense, and had exceptional pitching. Once again, they have everything that a team needs to compete for a state championship.
Another quality that this year’s edition owns is confidence, which is exactly what three straight crowns will provide. Several of these players have the experience of playing on the biggest baseball stage in the state, Shields made sure of it. When given the chance, Shields will play as many players as he can to continue to grow his program. It also keeps his kids focused because they never how when their number will be called. As far as numbers are concerned – four may be the lucky one for this Tribe team this season!
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!