It's the sound of horse hide hitting aluminum. The sound of legion baseball.
The local boys of summer are gearing up to start the fourth year of legion baseball in Craig, and the first year under Coach Jake Martinez. Though the players haven't met as a team yet, they could play as soon as this weekend.
"I've already talked to the Steamboat Springs coach and he'd like to have a doubleheader this weekend," Martinez said. "But, before any of that happens
I've got to get the team together, which I hope to do this Tuesday."
There will be a legion baseball organizational meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Craig Middle School. The meeting is being held not only to get the team in order, but to design a practice schedule so athletes who have jobs can work and play.
The legion team has no scheduled games other than the weekend's tentatively planned doubleheader, but it's not hard for organizers to figure out who they'll play.
"We'll mainly stick to our regular-season conference teams, but it's unlikely we'll travel as far south as Delta," Martinez said.
Martinez is a former Bulldog baseball player whose skills in his hometown earned him scholarship to the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo to play college ball.
This spring, Martinez waved Bulldogs through the one bag as the first-base coach for Moffat County.
Now, he guides the legion team, which, like the high school program, has become used to winning seasons.
During the first year of legion ball in Craig, the team put in a state berth performance, but was unable to attend because it lacked the necessary number of players.
The next year, the team had enough players and was able to attend state.
Last year, the team was invited to the Triple Crown Tournament.
Bob Satterwhite, who helped with the Bulldogs' baseball program and is father of its stand-out pitcher, catcher and long-ball hitter, Rob Satterwhite, is responsible for the legion ball success in the past. But, he is turning the reins of the program over to Martinez.
Martinez plans to have Ed Stehlin and Bo Camp aboard as his assistant coaches.
Craig's legion baseball program will only field an A team and forgo the B and C squads. The squads are split up by age, and the A team represents mostly high school aged players. Along with high school players, an occasional college athlete is found in the mix.
"That's why legion ball can be a little more competitive then regular season ball, you'll find the occasional college kid playing because he's under the age requirement," Satterwhite said. "It is also usually more relaxed than high school, mainly because the kids don't have to worry about classes and homework."
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