Cole Haag, a senior at Salado High School, has been counting down the days.
The magic number for the highly talented catcher is now seven.
Seven days from now, Jan. 24, Haag and his Salado Eagles varsity baseball teammates will begin practice for the 2014 season.
“Yes, I’ve been counting down the days because it feels like forever since I’ve been on a high school baseball field and competing,” Haag said.
Last season, the Eagles made it to the semifinals of the 2A State Tournament. A terrific accomplishment, sure. But Haag would like such success again.
“I’d like to think the potential is there for us to get back to the state tournament,” he said. “I know we’ll be giving it our best shot. We’ve got some new guys coming on to our team and we have some key guys returning.”
According to Salado head coach Chad Krempin, Haag is one of those key returning guys.
“Cole Haag is hugely important to our team,” Krempin said. “As a sophomore on varsity, he won the Defensive Player MVP award. As a junior, he brought his batting average up to the mid-.300s. He wants to play at the next level and I know he’s worked very hard in the offseason.”
The Eagles return senior starters Caden Eary at shortstop and Davis Little in right field.
Returning on the mound will be Salado’s ace Casey Frazier who, amongst his postseason honors, was named one of the top 10 area athletes in 2013 by the Killeen Daily Herald.
Senior Briton Hawes, another outstanding hurler, also returns.
“Having our two top pitchers back will be huge for us,” Haag said.
Salado is currently ranked No. 3 in the state by Texas High School Baseball.com in 2A.
“I think our kids are happy to have such a high ranking early,” Krempin said. “We have lofty goals each and every year, and for them to be recognized like this in the preseason should make them feel proud. Of course, it doesn’t mean much once the season starts.”
“We can’t make any promises yet as to how good we’ll be,” Haag said. “But I can promise that we’ll be giving it everything we have this year to again be successful.”