Altoona (WQOW) -- It's not often that a first year high school coach comes in with sixteen years of college coaching experience, but that's the case in Altoona, where Craig Walter takes over the Railroaders baseball program.
The Rails return seven upperclassmen from last year's team that took second in the Western Cloverbelt and finished 15-7 overall. Walter says while Altoona may not wow anyone physically when the team takes the field, the Railroaders make up for it with their energy level and strong work ethic. Players are looking forward to putting the coach's experience to good use.
"Having Coach Craig with so much experience is a big help," says Altoona senior third baseman/catcher Isaac Colbert, "he just really knows his stuff, so we're getting a perspective that's seen a lot of baseball and seen a lot of stuff happen so he knows what to expect and can help us prepare for that better. "
"We're doing some new things, some different things," Walter says, "some things that you can't really explain, you're going to have to go out and watch to see what we do, so it'll be interesting. I've done some of the things at the college ranks before, so it's fun and it works."
"He definitely does things I've never seen before," says Railroaders senior outfielder/pitcher Mitchell Adrian, "I'm really excited and I think it's going to work out really well."
It's early in the season, but another thing Walter likes is how well the team has accepted the new coaching staff.
"It helps that I played a couple years of professional baseball back in the old days," Walter says, "so once kids hear that they have the tendency to listen a little bit more because you might have something they want to hear about, so we can do that or I've done that. We'll take advantage of it. They've been very receptive."
This week's weather postponed two of Altoona's games. Next Tuesday's game with Menomonie has been moved to the Woodside complex in Mauston.