The West Nodaway baseball program will have a new coach going into this season, but he is fair from an unfamiliar face.
For many of the Rockets, Chitwood has been their coach throughout the years growing up. Now, he takes over the Rockets’ varsity program.
“I’ve coached the state-line lead for 26 years, but this is a step up,” Chitwood said. “... This group of boys is working really hard. They are giving 100 percent every day. I’ve had zero incidents with any of the boys. Everyone is fully bought into the program and they are working hard every minute of practice.
“There are several of these boys that I started off with in tee-ball.”
The players are excited to have Chitwood back coaching him.
“He was the first baseball coach that I ever had,” West Nodaway senior Gabe Goff said. “So I’ve had him for years throughout little league and everything so it is awesome to have him back with the same group we’ve been with.”
After an 8-8 season three seasons ago, the Rockets dropped off with a 0-15 season in 2019. They will look to bounce back this season with a large chunk of their core returning.
One of those returners is junior Hunter Dawson who will pitch and be a key hitter for the team.
“It is fun to finally get back on the field,” Dawson said.
Goff is also an important returner for the Rockets.
“I’m excited,” Goff said. “With missing last year, you kind of really miss it. ... I’m ready to get back at it.”
Chitwood is excited about the young players on the Rocket roster. Versatility also figures to be a strength for West Nodaway.
“The boys are working so hard that it is going to make it a challenge, because we can play most of them just about anywhere,” Chitwood said. “... Those are the decisions that you look forward too.”
The Rockets will play at Auburn (Nebraska) on Thursday. They will have a pair of home games on Monday and Tuesday against Northland Christian and South Holt
“Limit our mistakes,” Dawson said of his goals for the team. “Play as a team and not just a bunch of individuals. Have fun while we are playing.”