Oct 29-30 Impact Showcase BlacksburgOctober 25, 2022
Program Preview: Terry SanfordFebruary 7, 2023
By: Trey Daly
February is here, that can only mean one thing – High School baseball is just around the corner! Over the next month, our staff will be breaking down High School baseball programs around the region. Today, we start off in Winterville, North Carolina where Head Coach Pat McRae is looking forward to guiding the 2023 South Central Falcon to new heights…
Before we get into the 2023 season, take us back to the run in 2022! How was that for you as a coach? Did you have a sense that was going to happen?
“2022 was an awesome season for me. Every day was fun, practice was smooth, and games were intense. It was what you dream every season would be from a coaching perspective. I really had a feeling we were going to make a deep run. We talked about the playoffs from day 1 of practice and laid out a plan of what we needed to do to reach our goals every day. We had a great senior class and they held themselves and their teammates accountable to get us to the point where we had the opportunity to make a run like that.”
“I also have to say that we could not have accomplished what we did without our top notch coaching staff. Zack Liles, Seth Anderson, Chrisitan Stokes, Dennis Marshall, Mike Metcalf, and Josh Sandy. I can’t do what I do without my staff.”
How was the off-season after that run? What areas did you really focus on in the fall season?
“The off-season has been good, but we’re really trying to rebuild our pitching staff. It became really easy to rely on Trace and Alex and run to Peanut (Daylinh Nguyen-Brown) to close games out. I’m expecting Peanut Nguyen-Brown, Nick Mayo, and Christian Chance to take charge on the mound for us. I believe Pitching and Defense were our strongest points last year so we continued to focus on that this off-season.”
What’s a normal practice schedule look like?
“I try to keep a normal practice to 2 1/2 hours at the most. I start talking at 3:50 and stretch/throwing starts at 4:00. Naturally, early in the season, it may run longer, but I find that I start losing attention around the 2-hour mark. After we stretch and throw we have a defensive session that I try to limit to 30-45 minutes at the most, but I have it structured so each guy gets a ton of reps in that time period. I’m very lucky to have enough coaches to run small defensive sessions that coincide with one another. We then transition to some type of hitting session or a hitting session combined with a “focus” session (i.e. bunt defenses, 1st and 3rds, baserunning, etc). I like practice to be very structured, but also loose and fun. At the end of practice if I hear a kid say, “I didn’t realize it was already 6:30″, then I know I planned a good practice.”
Switching gears to 2023 – What’s the outlook on the Falcon’s? What’s the strength’s of this year club?
“As far as the outlook for 2023, I’m not sure yet. On paper, I think we could be really good, but with all the new pieces from last year to this year, it will be hard to tell where we’re at until we get into some competition. I think we have a good mix of experienced players and talented young guys. I think we have the chance to have some really strong starting pitching and I’d be doing my players a disservice if we aren’t a very good defensive team.”
What are some key games on this year’s schedule?
“We have a great non-conference schedule throughout the year, but if I didn’t say Rose and Conley are the games I look forward to the most, I’d be lying. We’ve had some dogfights with both schools over the past few years, most recently being the 4th Round game we played with Rose last year, where we were fortunate enough to beat them in 11 innings. I’ve got a great relationship with Mills and RV and it’s always a pleasure to play against their teams.”
Who are some names on the Falcon’s 2023 roster we should look for?
“I want you to know our seniors: Peanut Nguyen-Brown, Scooter Waters, David Horvath, Dalton Marshall, Lukas Kuberacki, Jackson Bunch, Nick Mayo, and Barak Meachem. If our team is going to be worth anything this year, it will be because we have a good senior class of leaders.”
When thinking about South Central baseball, what’s one word that comes to mind?
“Family. We take care of each other and we hold each other accountable. We push each other to be better and we’re there to pick each other up.”
What should people know about a team coached by Pat McRae?
“I’m more concerned with helping my players build character and become good men than winning baseball games. That being said, I really like winning baseball games.”
Below I’m going to list adjectives, list the player on the 2023 roster who it describes:
Leader: Daylinh “Peanut” Nguyen-Brown
Gamer: S’Quan “Scooter” Waters
Hitterish: Mason Hobbs
Bulldog: Christian Chance
Selfless: David Horvath
Competitor: Rahkeem Williams
Stay tuned for more exciting 2023 Season Preview’s coming up soon…