Brent Luehring is the new head coach for the Devil Lake Firebirds baseball team, but he’s only new to Devils Lake. “My wife and I moved here last August,” he said. “I teach social studies. But I’ve been coaching baseball for more than ten years. This summer I’ll be back coaching Legion ball again.”
Luehring, like all the coaches this spring, is tired of looking at snow.

Brent Luehring is the new head coach for the Devil Lake Firebirds baseball team, but he’s only new to Devils Lake.  “My wife and I moved here last August,” he said.  “I teach social studies.  But I’ve been coaching baseball for more than ten years.  This summer I’ll be back coaching Legion ball again.”

Luehring, like all the coaches this spring, is tired of looking at snow.  The Firebirds are working inside, today in the lunch room at Central Middle School, and aren’t looking at a game until…, well, that’s a good question.

“We’re lucky we’ve got a place inside,” Luehring said.  “We’ve got a cage and a pretty good setup, but everybody is anxious to take it outdoors.  We’re in our fourth week of the season.”

Particularly, Luehring wants to get the hitting outside.  He’s got his hitters working on launch angle, a technique made popular the past few years in the MLB and almost faddish the way pundits talk about its metrics, but Ted Williams was evangelizing for a launch angle approach to hitting for decades, and what made the “Splendid Splinter” one of the greatest hitters ever, and arguably the greatest ever.

“The guys are getting tired of hitting into a net and need to see what the technique does in a game situation,” said Luehring.  “What I’m having them work on is how to focus on the ball.  You’ll notice that every time they tee it up on the stand it’s the same way.  I want them focusing on the bottom lace when they swing, to get under the ball.  It’s one thing doing it in here and completely different outside.”

Luehring said he’s a little reluctant to say anything yet about the season’s prospects; prognosticating isn’t something he’s confident in yet.  “I need to see them on the field,” he said.  “Really see them in action.  This is my first year as their coach, and they’re just getting used to the sound of my voice and my style.  But I will say that based on last year’s stats we’re going to work a lot on the bats.  They didn’t hit well last year.”

He looked at the guys working on the tee and told one to raise the stand a foot.  “I do think I’ve got a solid bunch of juniors.  We’ve got some seniors, too, so we should be okay this year.  All I want for us is to be in the EDC tournament every year. Going to state will come, but I want us in the tournament every year.”