Spring Sports Preview: Boys’ Baseball


Emily Waite

Tyler Maloney (12) and ANdrew Rhodes (12) both have played baseball for over 10 years and are excited for their senior season.

Erica Sherwin, Senior Reporter

The Manitou Springs High School boys’ baseball team is preparing for their upcoming 2023 season that is quickly approaching with preseason having already started and tryouts happening next week. Brandon Dematto, the team’s veteran head coach, has been coaching the baseball team for the past 11 years. This year the team will welcome returning players from past rosters, but also exciting new participants. Last season the team finished with an overall record of 18 wins, 8 losses and one tie. They finished in their league with an excellent record of 9-1 with their only loss to Lamar, a strong league competitor.

In preparation for this new spring season, it’s common for players to have some nerves but it should be an enjoyable and memorable experience, especially for the seniors. The team anticipates that the baseball schedule will be competitive this season and in preparation will focus on conditioning and the intensity of practices to compete at a championship level. With the overall decrease in pressure to perform or get recruited in the high school setting, Manitou athletics makes the environment more appealing and a fun overall experience according to returning varsity players. 

Currently, there are only two returning varsity seniors, Andrew Rhodes (12) and Tyler Maloney (12). Both will have played baseball during all four years of high school and Rhodes has been working on getting recruited to play baseball in college and is likely to commit within the next few weeks. Most importantly, he is setting his sights on a state championship win, “I want to go all the way, that’s just one of my goals I want to accomplish in my senior season,” Rhodes said.

Baseball is a challenging sport requiring extremely good hand-eye coordination by connecting with a baseball thrown at 80-88 MPH and the ability to run with short, quick bursts in order to score runs. For new or inexperienced players these skills can be learned, and challenges can be overcome during training and the preseason. Maloney speaks from his perspective of playing baseball even though it isn’t his main sport. “Hitting the ball is personally one of the hardest skills in baseball,” Maloney said, “But by putting some work in, it’s going to be a whole different story.”

 The fact that high school pitchers are not only throwing at high speeds, but that they are sometimes throwing “off-speed” pitches that have 8-12 inches of break makes connecting with the baseball nearly impossible. It’s a sport that requires a great deal of mental toughness due to the amount of failure that exists in the game,” DeMatto said. 

“It’s a sport that requires a great deal of mental toughness due to the amount of failure that exists in the game.””

— Brandon DeMatto

Last season the team lost a few experienced seniors that improved the team’s overall success and helped them reach the playoffs. “It’s going to have a big effect because we lost our ace pitcher Davis Mack and one of our stronger outfielders,” Rhodes said. 

DeMatto believes the younger pitchers will continue to have an effect on the team’s future success. “We had several young pitchers including Nate Gentzel (11), Canon Feist (11) and Hayden Martinez (10) who were able to accumulate quite a few innings on the bump for us”

Fortunately, the current team is relatively young, strong and determined with the majority of the team being skilled underclassmen who are very motivated for the upcoming season and will be the future success of the program. “Those holes are certainly difficult to fill, but we have a really good group of young players like Logan Moore (10), Preston Rhodes (10), Ashur Lavigne (10) and Sam Fournier (11) who will be looked upon to help us solidify our roster this upcoming season,” Coach Dematto said. The junior class also has several players willing to step up and assist the two seniors with the leadership role after experiencing the thrill of last year’s winning season.

With the success of last season and the anticipated beautiful spring weather, all varsity players are hoping to make it even farther into the playoffs than the previous 2021-2022 season. They are relying on the up-and-coming new talent and supportive fans to make this a competitive and memorable season. In recognition of the struggles the boys will face this season, Coach DeMatto spreads some words of wisdom to all that want to come out to play, “If you want to be great, focus on your daily habits and commit to excellence in all that you do”.