Baseball prepares for spring


Senior Finn Scott-Daniels throws an offspeed pitch in the Atoms game against West Potomac in 2021. Scott-Daniels is the best pitcher on the team and primarily plays at first base and shortstop.

The 2022 Atoms Baseball season begins this week, with a three day tryout period from Feb. 21 to Feb. 23.
Tryouts consist of testing the players athletic ability and baseball skills through individual and team drills. Individual workouts will include running, weight lifting, throwing, hitting and various others.
The team will also take infield/outfield practice as a team, and go through positional drills together to master defensive ability and footwork.
“I am super excited for the upcoming season, I expect us to improve every day and be a far better team when we enter the district tournament then we are in our first game,” head coach Christopher Bagot said. “Our goal is always to win a district championship.”
The Atoms will look to take another step forward this season, after having the best regular season record in the district in 2021, but unfortunately losing in a heartbreaking district championship last season to West Potomac.
Despite losing several key contributors of the team last season including Danny Salisbury, Spencer Robson, Phillip Bird, Ethan Newton and Orlando Torres, the team hopes that new leadership can step up and take the team to a district championship.
Several players from the 2021 team have gone on to play college baseball, across successful Division 1 and Division 3 college baseball programs.
Seniors Finn Scott-Daniels, Grant Yunger and Zack Pacak will play essential roles for the team this season, as senior captains who have put themselves and their teammates in good positions for success in the upcoming season.
“I understand the challenges we face as a younger team, however, this team has several players who have started at the varsity level before, and we have worked extremely hard as a group throughout past seasons and this winter to prepare ourselves for this season,” senior captain Scott-Daniels said.
“I’m confident that this group can repeat our past successes and win a championship,” Scott-Daniels said.
Scott-Daniels has been a varsity starter throughout his entire high school career, and is expected to be the teams number one pitcher start at both shortstop and first base, despite playing solely at first base his last three seasons.
Seniors Tyler Plank and Blayden Woodruff will also be important this season, with Plank as one of the team’s best pitchers and Woodruff as an above average center fielder with electric speed.
A key emphasis for the team’s preparation has been getting faster and more explosive. Several members of the team joined the JV track program in the winter. The program was led by coach Bagot, who trained off- season athletes through short distance running and strength training.
“Coach did a great job with coming up with a program that helped us become stronger and faster,” junior Evan Newton said. “The work we put in months before the season will pay off in our play during the season.”
Newton is one of several players who are projected to make the jump from JV to Varsity this season and take on larger roles for the Atoms, alongside junior David Sewall and sophomore Zach Plank. Plank impressed in his freshmen season as a pitcher who has good fastball command and sharp break on his off-speed pitches.
Plank will also join a talented pitching staff that can go 3-5 pitchers deep, alongside his brother Tyler Plank, Scott-Daniels and Yunger. The group has worked to add velocity and new pitches to their arsenal that will allow them to keep hitters off balanced in their appearances this season.
The Atoms began green days in late January, working five days a week, with workouts on the baseball field, the weight room, and in the upstairs gym in the hitting cage. The schedule varied due to weather, however, the team balanced their workout program to get the team in the best shape for the season.
“We had great participation in our offseason workouts and green days the last three weeks,” Bagot said.
Bagot and assistant head coach Kevin Rudd have emphasized the importance of staying active and encouraging baseball players and all athletes to play as many sports as possible to expand their skills.
“I was super proud that at least 18 players who are trying out are multi-sport athletes,” Bagot said.
The team will have several weeks to prepare for their first competition, with their first scrimmages being held on March 8 and March 11 against Washington-Lee and Alexandria City. The Atoms have a 21 game regular season schedule, including invites to several invitational tournaments during March and April.
This is the first year in the National District for the Atoms, who will play an expanded number of teams with seven teams in the district this year, compared to four or five in previous seasons.
If the team is able to get significant production from their senior captains and have several underclassmen step up into roles on the team, the Atoms will have a great chance to win a district title in May.
Games officially begin on March 18, when the team will travel to Lewis High School to take on the Lancers in their first official game of the 2022 season.