Spring officially starts on March 20, but for Pagosa Springs High School’s baseball players, it’s already here.
With preseason training taking place in parking lots, the middle school gym and in the weight room, the Pirates are now ready to get their first playing time on a field this weekend as they head to La Junta for a tournament.
The team was 4-13 last season, which left them in fourth place in the Intermountain League, ahead of Monte Vista and behind Bayfield, Alamosa and Centauri.
While his team is young this year (like last year), coach Jim Fait believes the Pirates will be competitive.
The team boasts three seniors on its varsity roster to begin the season: Keith Archuleta, Kevin Crow and Chris Mannara (who will join the team when basketball season is over).
The team also lists three juniors: Dean Scott, Joey Campbell (who will join after basketball) and new player Carter Walsh.
Sophomores make up the bulk of the team: Austin Harker, Martin Rodriguez, Caden Henderson, Tyler Manzanarez, Marcos Quezada, Kennan Goebel, Luke DeVooght (who will join after basketball), and new players Kyle Lewitt and Connor Brown.
Freshmen on the varsity squad to begin the season are Mike Kuhl and Ty Schofield.
“Once again, we’re young. We don’t have many upperclassmen,” Fait said. “We’re young, but I expect to be competitive.”
In the league, Fait expects Bayfield and Alamosa to top the standings, with Centauri, Monte Vista and Pagosa competing on an even level.
Scott and Henderson look to be the team’s leading pitchers, with several others backing them up on the mound throughout the season.
The infield also looks to be set for the team, with Goebel at first, Manzanarez at second, Quezada at shortstop, and Harker at third.
“We’re looking pretty good on the infield,” Fait said, adding of Harker, “I don’t think he’s committed an error this spring.”
Archuleta looks to anchor the outfield at center, with others rotating in and out of the left- and right-field spots to test the performance of various younger players in a game setting.
And despite losing three all-conference players from last year’s squad, Fait said his team should also be able to hit.
Action for the team starts this weekend at the tournament in La Junta Friday and Saturday.
Friday at 1:30 p.m., the team will play Trinidad. Saturday at 9:30 a.m., the team plays Monte Vista, and at 11:45 a.m. takes on La Junta.
“Trinidad and La Junta are traditionally strong in baseball,” Fait said. “I think we can actually compete with Monte Vista.”
The current season schedule is as follows:
March 15 and 16 — Tournament in La Junta.
March 29 — 3 p.m. in. Aztec.
March 30 — 11 a.m. in Center.
April 4 — 3 p.m. versus Aztec in Pagosa Springs.
April 6 — Doubleheader, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., versus Monte Vista in Pagosa Springs.
April 13 — Doubleheader, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., in Alamosa.
April 16 — 4 p.m. versus Sanford in Pagosa Springs.
April 20 — Doubleheader, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., versus Centauri in Pagosa Springs.
April 25 — 3 p.m. versus Ignacio in Pagosa Springs.
April 27 — Doubleheader, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., in Bayfield.
April 20 — 4 p.m. in Sanford.
May 2 — 4 p.m. versus Sargent in Pagosa Springs.