New Coach Gives Athens Baseball An Early Start – Indoors

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Athens baseball training for the 2018 season is in full swing – but indoors, with a new coach and seven starter spots to fill.

Batters swing at a tee inside the cage. Connor Kurek/Reporter.

Todd Nuzum, 53, found out in October that he would take the helm of the Bulldogs in the spring.

And he wasted no time in securing a place where the players could practice safe from the winter weather: a warehouse off East State Street with three batting cages.

Coach Nuzum’s baseball bat. Connor Kurek/Reporter.

“We’ve been really taking advantage of them and the kids have been going hard at it,” Nuzum said. “We’ve had ten to 14 kids here just swinging the bats so it’s been awesome.”

Nuzum is taking over for longtime head coach Chris Stewart who led Athens to a 24-4 record last season and two Regional Finals appearances.

Head AHS baseball coach Todd Nuzum throws soft toss to his players. Connor Kurek/Reporter.

The coaches who work alongside Nuzum though, are already pleased with the man’s drive and tendency to stress fundamentals so early in the season.

Junior Varsity coach Kyle Lonas pointed out that he’s known Nuzum within the baseball community for years and he’s happy with the ways the head coach is growing the program.

“I think he’s looking for a lot of things we’ve done in the past and been successful at and continuing to do them,” Lonas says.

Nuzum’s passion for coaching, and baseball in general, was clear.

“Personally, I wouldn’t have gone to college if it wasn’t for baseball,” he said.

He added that it could be any sport for a high school student, so long as there’s some driving force behind getting kids to college.

The Athens Bulldogs baseball team broke the school record for wins in 2017, so Nuzum has high expectations to live up to.

But he’s motivated to get outside so the team can start full practices as soon as possible.

An Athens player nails soft tosses down the line of the cage. Connor Kurek/Reporter.

“I’m just anxious to get out there – get the kids working hard, playing baseball the way it should be played and has been played,” he said.

The Bulldogs have a lot to live up to because they’ll be fighting to make their third straight appearance at the Regional Final this season.