HEBRON | While other baseball teams may have opened the Indiana high school season with running and tossing drills, Hebron was practicing sitting.
Or rather, squatting low enough to befuddle a pitcher.
The Hawks, who reached the Class 2A semistate game before losing in nine innings last season, didn't practice hitting or catching. They practiced stealing bases.
"We don't have the boppers, so we're going to have to move," said coach John Steinhilber, whose team practiced in the middle school gym as a steady rain fell. "After (a couple players) our guys are going to have to be running batters. I just want to make sure that's ingrained in their head."
Hebron lost eight players from the semistate team, a squad that won the school's first sectional title in 35 years and that felt it came within a pitch of reaching the state title game. Of the eight lost, four were daily position players, Steinhilber said.
Seniors Kyle Joyce and Jon Moneta said that tasting the semistate was enough to raise their own expectations of the team.
"We know the possibility is there," Moneta said. "We're missing a lot of people from last year, but there are a lot of good people here, too."
The pair were also on Steinhilber's basketball team, and said they almost haven't stopped thinking about baseball since June 9, 2012, when they ended last season.
"Both of us have been in baseball mode for the past five months," Joyce said. "During basketball we were focused on basketball, but we're really excited for the season and once basketball ended, we kicked into this season really hard."
Steinhilber said that with the beginning of practice Monday, 2012 is but a memory. He wants this team to write its own story.
"I learned long ago that you can't throw last year in everyone's face," Steinhilber said. "I'm not going to say to them, 'Last year's group did this,' instead we're going to show them how they reacted. Instead, we want to say 'Look what's out there, we want to strive to get back there.' There are going to be some struggles, but I feel good about the young guys who are working hard."