The Vandegrift baseball team doesn’t like to individualize things. While most teams go out one at a time as their names are announced at the beginning of the game, the Vipers take the field as a team after everybody has been recognized.
The 17 seniors on the team are the foundation of a well-led team that is tied for second at 9-3 in District 25-6A. The Vipers won just four district games last year and one game all season two years ago.
“When they came out in the fall and we saw what they’d done strength wise, it made so much improvement in almost every aspect,” head coach Allen McGee said. “We had to catch up in the weight room and with our speed. They worked really hard and it was a really good thing to see.”
Vandegrift has done a good job of winning series’ this year, sweeping Lehman, taking two of three from Westlake and beating Vista Ridge in two of three games last weekend. They’ve outscored opponents 65-36 this season in district
It might be cliché, but Vandegrift is taking the season one game at a time, chasing to focus on their next game against Hays instead of the seemingly probable situation in which the Vipers make the playoffs.
McGee is in his second year at the helm after taking over for Christopher Seaman, who spent the first six years in charge of the program and amassed a 30-91-2 record over that span. He went 9-18-1 in his first season with wins over Cedar Park, Rouse and Vista Ridge.
“Last year when we got here, we could tell that the group had a lot of leadership qualities to them,” McGee said. “When we talked to them again in the fall, there was so much more maturity that had happened. They were already good leaders, but they got better on and off the field.”
Not every senior can contribute in every game and McGee said they all understand where they fit into the team, whether it means catching in the bullpen, keeping stats and notes or hyping up the dugout.
“We have a lot of seniors and we’ve got really good leadership from the captains especially, McGee said. “They’ve all bought into their roles as far as how it goes with the team and they’re excelling in them.”
The Vipers have playoff aspirations, something they’ve only done once in school history, but they have a tough end of the season if they want to get there.
After their bye this week, Vandegrift has three games against Hays, which has won six straight games, beginning at Hays on Tuesday night. They then face off with undefeated district leaders Lake Travis in the last three games of the regular season.
“It’s going to be good for us because if we can get into the postseason, there are no weak teams in the playoffs,” McGee said. “It’s good to go in playing the best of the best and when you’re playing Lake Travis, that’s who you’re playing.”