Lexington Legion Baseball starts warming up before the weather does in indoor facilities

LEXINGTON – Though the weather may not agree and say otherwise, spring is just around the corner and with it comes spring training for baseball. The Lexington Pinnacle Bank legion teams are no exception and they’re fortunate enough to have access to facilities to make it happen despite the snow on the ground.

The Optimist Sports Complex offers indoor batting facilities as well as the field house where players can start working on getting into shape for the new season. Lexington Legion Baseball will be starting a new season as well as welcoming a new head coach, Vince Leibert.

Leibert is no stranger to coaching baseball, having coached pony league baseball in the past. He has also been involved with the legion for the better part of the last three years and even served as president of the board. He has filled in where needed in Lexington baseball programs and helped many of the coaches in the past.

To put it simply: The new coach is a baseball guy.

“I’d been the pony coach and we had some success there,” Leibert recalled with a smile. “A lot of the guys on the senior team were actually on my pony team.”

There are two regularly scheduled days for practice for the legion teams as the season gets a little closer. Thursdays are spent in the batting facility, where they break the team into smaller groups, allowing Leibert and any volunteers to help players individually. Sundays are spend in the field house as a larger group for technical training on fielding.

Coach Leibert is taking care to not interfere with the athlete’s other commitments and has a ‘just let me know’ approach to players attending practice in the early training season.

“We’ve been doing voluntary workouts, weekly training since January,” Leibert explained. “Starting in March we’re doing a more mandatory but flexible schedule. We’re taking a more flexible approach for the guys doing school sports.”

Training in the early months is tailored to each player and Leibert says that they will all get the time they need to do the very best they can. He intends to make sure that those who work hard are rewarded and will see to it that each player has the opportunities they need to improve.

“We came up with a pretty good plan for developing some of the skills these guys need,” Leibert continued. “We have a lot of turnover in the roster this year so we have a lot of guys that need some development. Some of the players this year, we’re working from the ground up and breaking down the fundamentals. We’ve got a training plan for each player.”

Another way Leibert intends to change the program is cohesion. The juniors and the seniors will be one team that plays two games.

“We do have plans for each team, the juniors and the seniors,” Leibert assured. “But we’re practicing as one team with a sort of ‘one team, one family’ atmosphere. When the time comes, we’ll split off and have two teams to play the games.”

As for the assistant coaching staff, Leibert says the details will come later. He wants to make sure he has the best mentors in the right positions before making any final decisions.

“We’re looking at several guys and the schedules to see who will fall into what roles,” Leibert said of his assistant coaching staff. “Our schedule will be coming out soon and we can see who can manage the different roles.”

As for the preseason help, Leibert has accepted help from volunteers like Mike Werger and has enlisted the help of local baseball legend, Leo Gonzalez.

“Coach Gonzalez is our off-season player development coach for Lexington baseball.” Leibert said of his spring help. “That guy works seven days a week in baseball. He’s instructing third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade, pony leagues and he helps us. There isn’t a level of baseball in this community that he isn’t involved.”

Lexington Pinnacle Bank Legion baseball will show the results of their new training plan in their first game of the season on Sunday, May 19. The Pinnacle Bank juniors and seniors will welcome their neighbor to the east, the Overton Bandits, for the season opener.

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