NORMAN — The players credit the coach. The coach, Pete Sangirardi, points instead to the students and the rest of the coaching staff. All the while, the Tigers have continued to win at a rate not seen in the program for some time.
Such is the state of Norman High baseball in 2014, which at 7-4 is off to its best start in recent memory and is a legitimate contender in District 6A-4.
The truth is there’s plenty of credit to go around. A strong senior class has brought NHS back from a string of poor seasons. Sangirardi, now in his third year with the program but the first season he’s been with the team through the entire preseason, has brought a steady hand to the team. The assistant coaches have kept things on track the past few seasons while Sangirardi has been away for medical reasons.
Taken together, it’s a total team effort that, heading into Friday’s game with Bethel, had the Tigers dreaming of making real strides this season.
“It took some time, but we’ve grown more comfortable with coach Sangirardi and he’s grown more comfortable with us,” senior Paul Reed said. “Whenever there’s a new coach there’s a change of philosophy, and it’s something as a program you have to get used to. We’re all starting to work together rather than just figure each other out.”
After a pair of losses to Owasso to start the season, it looked like this year’s Tiger squad could be another decent but unspectacular team. But after the poor start, this year’s squad proved that wouldn’t be the case. They stormed back from behind to pick up a pair of impressive wins over Putnam City in their next two games, and in those first few weeks Sangirardi found what he’s been looking for since arriving in Norman.