It's been said by baseball experts that the art of base running is dead, specifically the art off-base stealing.
The reasons are because it's too hard on the body, it can cause a player to miss time in the season, and it doesn't factor into the modern game.
Apparently there are some who ignored the experts and gone against the ever increasing flow of minimizing base stealing Moffat County High School baseball Coach Kip Hafey is one. He has gone against the flow, and a maximized the use of his base stealing weapon, sophomore Eric Bastow.
Bastow sits in the number two spot in state rankings for stolen bases with six, and has Moffat County's highest batting average, hitting a solid .636, which puts him in the top-20 statewide.
Undoubtedly Saturday's home game against the Rifle Bears will give the sophomore his fourth chance of the season to keep increasing his batting average and number of steals.
The varsity plays at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by the junior varsity who begin at 4 p.m. at the Craig Middle School baseball field.
"We just need to go out and play like a team," Bastow said. "If we're able to keep the chatter up and the emotion going, we'll do well."
Rifle sits at the middle of a turbulent Western Slope Conference (WSC) with a record of 1-2, and is a well-coached team, Hafey said.
He said the Bears field a highly competitive team whose record does not reflect the quality of play.
"Year to year they're a team that will give you a game. They always has solid pitching," he said.
Rifle's ace will most likely be senior Brian Beecraft. If he doesn't start, he will come in if the Bears get into trouble According to Hafey, Rifle's senior pitcher does not come at a team with overwhelming speed, but is a technical hurler who works curves and off-speed pitches around th strike zone, the type of pitch that can make it a long day at the plate.
With a 6.31 ERA and 12 hits on him over 11 innings, Beecraft is more than hittable. And, Moffat County, batting with a .355 average and earning more than 21 RBI's this season, will be more than happy to take advantage of that fact.
"He's [Beecraft] not the kind of pitcher that goes for the strike-out, instead he'll try to ground and fly you out," Hafey said.
For the Bulldogs, the mound will be occupied by Chris Field, the junior right hander, who has pitched a stable season so far, holding an ERA of 2.80 and earning four K's for the year in the 10 innings he's pitched. Sophomore lefty Jerod Estey will be there if Field gets into trouble during the game.
Bastow, Estey and Field, who have a combined average of .483, will all have to produce at the plate and senior catcher Rob Satterwhite will be there for the long ball.
Johnson doesn't see the game being decided from the mound or the plate as much as he does in the defensive plays the ability to turn the routine plays will be the determining factor.
"The biggest thing we have to do is to maintain our stability on defense. If we don't commit any errors, we should come out of this game on top," Hafey said