The Return

Déjà vu for Seven Lakes? If so, Spartans have a lot to look forward to

Déjà vu for Seven Lakes? If so, Spartans have a lot to look forward to
Things are looking up again for Seven Lakes at just the right time Vype

Originally Appeared on Vype 

It’s practically déjà vu for Seven Lakes.

During the preseason non-district slate last year, the Spartans went 11-5. It was a respectable mark, but one that belied the plethora of talent on the roster. Injuries and the lengthy absence of coach Amy Cataline, then on maternity leave, had significant influence; however, Seven Lakes went 17-3 the rest of the way before falling to Hebron in the Class 6A state final.

This year is falling in line similarly.

Heading into the start of District 19-6A play Friday with a showdown against Tompkins, Seven Lakes is 15-12. Injuries and the lengthy absence of sophomore star hitter Ally Batenhorst have contributed; the Spartans have played just one set at full health in 27 matches.

So Seven Lakes is relishing a fresh start, now that the games mean something, and with that comes a full lineup. Batenhorst returned to the Spartans on Tuesday after helping the USA Girls Youth National Team to the gold medal in the NORCECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championships in Honduras. Program stalwarts Natalie Winter and Morgan Janda are fully recovered from nagging injuries.

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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