Spring is arriving in Pagosa Country, with snow, sun, mud, sprouting flowers, green leaves — and baseball.
The Pagosa Springs High School boys’ baseball team takes to the field next Tuesday, March 13, in Cortez, to kick off what the team hopes will be a successful season.
With just under two weeks of practice under his belt, new coach Jim Fait is optimistic that the 28 athletes out for the team will transition into a competitive varsity squad.
He’s also looking to put last year’s 1-10 record further in the past.
“Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but that’s OK,” Fait said.
Among the 28 that came out for the team this spring are two returning seniors, Tyson Ross and Austin DeVooght, as well as six juniors — Clay Ross, Keith Archuleta, Sean Blanchard, Chris Mannara, Kevin Crow and Slade Wiley.
Also out are sophomores Joey Campbell and Dean Scott, and 18 freshmen.
“I’ve got a very talented freshman class this year,” Fait said, adding that he expects to field three freshmen as part of the varsity squad.
“I really feel good about this team,” Fait said. “These kids have a lot of experience.”
While not yet field-tested (the team has been practicing in the school parking lot and in the junior high), Fait said he believes the team is strong in all aspects to begin the season, with a handful of pitchers he said he would feel comfortable putting on the mound, three catchers, strong bats, and solid fielding.
“If they can get a groundball on the blacktop with bumps and cracks, they won’t have problems on dirt and grass,” Fait said.
The team’s first test will come on Tuesday against the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers in Cortez, followed by a weekend tournament in Moab, Utah, before facing opponents closer to home.
On March 22, the team will head to Ignacio, followed by a doubleheader against Farmington High School the next weekend.
On April 5, the team heads back to New Mexico for a matchup against Piedra Vista High School before starting their conference schedule with a home doubleheader against the Alamosa Mean Moose on April 7.
April 12, the team is scheduled to host their third home game in a row, this time against Ignacio, followed by a doubleheader in Centauri on April 14.
The Pirates are then slated to host four home games in a row — doubleheaders against Bayfield on April 21 and against Piedra Vista the next weekend.
The team will round out its regular season schedule on May 5, with a doubleheader in Monte Vista.
“I’d sure like the community to support on this,” Fait said. “We sure need baseball here, as far as I’m concerned.”