Spring Sports Preview: Baseball

Mady Caywood, Senior Reporter

As the weather gets warmer, students, parents and supporters prepare for the upcoming Manitou Springs High School (MSHS) Baseball season. A lot of essential seniors graduated last year, causing a huge loss for this year’s team. The students and upcoming seniors of this year’s season are determined to make it an unforgettable year. Though there are considerably fewer seniors than there were last year, the few that still remain will create an impact and environment that will help the Mustangs make it far.

Senior Zachary Talbot has been playing baseball for about 14 years and has been a huge asset to the varsity team since his freshman year. He makes a huge impact on the team by mainly playing outfield positions, though occasionally plays first base and pitcher.

The MSHS baseball team has always been recognized for their dedication and great amount of hard work put into every practice and game. Practices start right after school down at the baseball field and end around 6 p.m. They are filled with exhausting drills, scrimmages, and some exercises targeted at specific skills. A lot of that begins with the coaches and their mentality, goals, and expectations for the players. “I think a more connected and responsible culture has been created,” says Talbot, “not only through the great coaching but through the accountability of their players.”

The coaches have created an environment where the players can not only come to practice and games with a good head on their shoulders, but with a passion to win. The coaches are Brandon DeMatto, Cory Archuleta, Dan Baker and newcomer Stuart Jeck. These four all have different qualities that they bring to the table but they all can agree on one common goal: to train humble, skilled and strong players that will create an unbreakable bond that will last beyond the season. The coaches hope to create the most determined mindsets within their players than any other sport.

“My coaches have greatly instilled a hard work ethic and a sense of open-mindedness,” Talbot said, “They definitely push me and every player to be as good as they know they can be.” With loads of hard work, practices, and challenging games, this MSHS team will need to develop their own unique skills that sets them apart from any of the other teams they will face. Not only are the players immensely talented, but they also have more of a special bond than other competitors. “Besides being good at a different mindset and style of play,” Said Talbot, “I think we are more connected and focused on a common goal.”

Though the few seniors that are apart of this team contribute greatly, there are also a lot of great juniors and underclassmen that help complete the team. Junior Caden Harris has been playing baseball since the age of seven and has been on varsity for all three years of his high school career. Harris is a great asset to the team as he plays shortstop and second base; though, in past seasons, Harris was thrown into any and every position and made the most out of it.

The MSHS baseball team has worked every year to try and go as far as they can, and make the most out of their season. Though, with every common team goal, many of the players tend to create their own personal goals for themselves to try and work toward. “For the team goal, I really want to win the league championship,” said Talbot.

Talbot and another star senior both share this goal That senior is Joey Allen, who has been on varsity since his freshman year and has been playing baseball since the age of six. Allen has been a huge key to the baseball team’s success over the last four years and plays second baseman and shortstop. Like Talbot, Allen aspires to be a great role model for upcoming players. He hopes to inspire his teammates to become next year’s mentors.

Unlike other players, Allen is still involved in basketball and hasn’t been able to prepare as much as his fellow teammates or as much as he would have liked. “I haven’t really done much to get myself ready for this season since basketball is still going,” Allen said, “though I’m excited for the season and ready to get back into the swing of things.”

MSHS baseball has their strengths and qualities that make them a great competitor against rivals, but they also have things that could use some work. “I think we could improve on batting a bit,” Allen said, “We could also become more of a unit on the field rather than individual players.”

Though it can be hard for these boys to find their unity on the field, many of the boys are extremely close outside of the sport and many events offered by the coaches encourage the boys’ connection. “One of our biggest bonding events is our trip to Arizona over spring break,” said Harris, “we travel together, we play games, it’s just a great opportunity overall to get to know each other and have fun as a team.”

Many of the boys don’t just play the sport to win, they play it because of the pure love and passion for the game. “Baseball is just so fun,” Harris said, “I enjoy the environment and I just have so much fun being around the sport.” Along with Harris, Talbot also has a pure love for the game and can’t get enough of playing with all of his friends. “I am so happy to be able to spend time with my friends,” said Talbot, “I’ve learned so much from all of the great coaches I’ve had.” These three have and will continue to be a huge asset to the team and will definitely have a huge impact on this upcoming season. The whole team will be a force to be reckoned with this year and will be one to watch this Spring.