Editor's Note: Author Jeff Rosenfield is a "Packer Parent" — his son is a member of the baseball program. If you're a Packer Parent, too, contact us at email@example.com to contribute info or photos of your child's team, or share them in a blog post or in the Largo Patch Pics & Clips gallery!
There was a distinct chill in the air at Largo High School on Friday night, but it felt like spring for the members and supporters of the Packers varsity baseball team.
The squad took to the expertly manicured field for the annual Blue/Gold intrasquad game, sporting sharp new uniforms and new hope that this could be the year they make a mark in the county.
Head coach Dan Flynn, in his second year leading the Packers, believes his team will improve on last season’s disappointing 7-17-1 season, thanks to some new blood and an abundance of pitching.
“We’re a young team with just five seniors and two juniors, and I’m concerned with losing my entire outfield from last year,” Flynn, an insurance agent who also coaches the Largo girls soccer team, said by phone.
“But we have a lot of potential this season, with a lot of arms that are going to contribute. That’s a plus we haven’t had in past years.”
Improvements to the field and upgrades in the uniforms, thanks to a golf tournament fundraiser in the offseason, have helped contribute to the feeling that this could be the dawn of a new era for Packers baseball.
Flynn acknowledged their schedule is no cakewalk, with district foes Osceola and Lakewood Ranch posing tough challenges, not to mention dates with perennial county powerhouses Dunedin, Countryside and Seminole on the slate.
But he hopes the combination of a challenging schedule and the maturation of the team during the season will have the club tested and ready for postseason play.
“Our schedule, especially early, will give us a good benchmark as to where we are going to be this season,” he said.
“We’re hoping we’re in a position to get stronger as the year goes on,” he added. “We want to win ‘em all, but our goal is to at least get to .500 and be ready for the district tournament.”
Largo plays preseason games at Pinellas Park High School at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m. Friday before participating in a season opening tournament at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater from Feb. 12-16.
For more information on the Largo Packers baseball team, visit their page on MaxPreps.com.