Hronski reflects on the year
The Braves season concluded on Saturday, July 27, in a double-header against the Hayward Hawks at Oakey Park.
To have an outside chance at making the playoffs, the Braves needed to win both games and finish the season with a conference record of 6-6.
Instead, they split the series with the Hawks and finished with a record of 5-7 eliminating themselves from playoff contention.
The first game of the double-header finished with a 6-4 loss for the Braves, a game in which they started the contest with a 4-0 lead in the first inning and simply didn’t have enough run support late in the game to hold on to the lead.
The second game was an 8-6 victory for the Braves. Matt Schultz had two RBIs and three hits, providing the spark that the Braves needed in the second game to secure a win.
Following the two games and approximately six hours of baseball being played on a sweltering July day – along with the fact that the Braves had just been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention – it would have been easy for Braves player and manager Brian Hronski to vent his frustration and displeasure with how the season went for his young team.
Instead, he and I talked at our usual meeting place just outside the Braves’ dugout and discussed how he viewed the season and what it was like in his first year as the Braves manager.
After all, the final roster decisions landed on his desk and he had the final say for what happened with the Braves team this year.
Despite missing the playoffs, Hronski had a surprisingly positive attitude about the season, the players on his roster and also the chemistry that was created between the guys who dedicated many of their summer nights to this baseball organization.
“I thought it was going to be a fun team and that’s exactly what it turned out to be, a very fun group of guys. My goal was to cultivate good chemistry and I think we accomplished that this year so that the guys want to come back next year, I think we accomplished that,” Hronski said.
Looking forward, the future for the Braves is bright. They have one of the youngest groups of players in the conference and were only a few games outside the playoff picture.
Hronski discussed his group of young talent.
“I see a lot of young pieces that we have, and I’m excited about that. I don’t think we’re that far off. I do think we have a core of guys that, in a year or two, we could be really good,” Hronski added.
Schultz is one of the quality young players who Hronski is happy to have on the roster.
Most of the Braves’ rotation of players are guys fresh out of high school or currently playing college baseball.
They don’t have as many veterans as most teams in the conference do. Hronski discussed potential additions to next year’s team.
“I’m big on chemistry and I will think very carefully about who we bring in. Just to make sure they fit well with who we already have; I want to get better. I do think we could use a couple of guys who are a little bit older, guys between 27 and 31.”
Before concluding the final interview of the season Hronski made sure to discuss how he viewed his first full season at Oakey Park.
“In terms of our presentation and product here, we have an excellent crowd, an awesome concession stand, they treat us great and the place is beautiful. They just treat us great here,” Hronski said.
With more veteran leadership and a young core that continues to develop, this Braves roster is a team that has enough raw talent to compete for a conference championship as early as next season.
Haugen Knights 6-6
Haugen Hornets 0-10