If you go
MCHS opening day lineup
(position in parenthesis)
1. Spencer Wayman (OF)
2. Scott Costello (C)
3. Ben Williams (CF)
4. Erick Leonard (OF)
5. Dylon Camilletti (2B)
6. Jasen Kettle (SS)
7. Casey Martin (3B)
8. Casey McClanahan (1B)
9. Nathan Hill (SP)
Craig Moffat County High School baseball coach Tim Hafey stood behind the batting cage on the Craig Middle School baseball diamond.
He joked with his players, traded quick-witted comments with assistant coach Justin Folley and demonstrated hitting technique to his young third baseman flailing at pitches inside the cage.
You'll have to excuse Hafey for having a good time.
Stuck inside for most of the preseason, Hafey and his band of ballplayers are happy to be outdoors.
"We're actually getting a chance to field some balls, see some live pitching and take some batting practice," he said. "It almost feels like we are playing baseball now. I can actually see how the guys play together."
He'll get a better chance today, as the Bulldogs open their season at 11 a.m. against Alamosa in Montrose.
The Bulldogs are making the trek south to participate in a three-game weekend set beginning today in Montrose and ending Saturday in Olathe.
Moffat County is scheduled to face the Montrose Indians shortly after its morning game against the Mean Moose, then heads to Olathe for a 1 p.m. game Saturday against Carbon County, Utah.
Although the games are meaningless as far as league records go, Hafey said if there's a game to be played, he's out to win.
"We haven't seen a lot of live pitching, but my expectations are to always go out and compete and try to win," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting a chance to see how everybody plays. We're taking a lot of kids down there who will get very little to no playing time, and we're taking some kids that are going to play every inning. So, we'll see what everyone can do."
The season-opening lineup is set, as is his opening day starter.
Seniors Spencer Wayman and Erick Leonard along with Hayden junior Ben Williams will man the outfield. Junior Nathan Hill gets the nod to tote the rubber and fellow junior Scott Costello will call the signals from behind the dish.
Sophomores Casey Martin and Dylon Camilletti will join junior Jasen Kettle and senior Casey McClanahan in the infield, rounding out MCHS' opening day nine.
McClanahan recovered faster than expected from an injured shoulder, boosting the Bulldogs defense at first base, and Hafey said he's been impressed by the play of Wayman, a newcomer who will lead off when the first pitch is thrown today.
"I think Wayman could be a sleeper and having McClanahan at first gives us a lot of experience at that position," he said.
Greg Blackstun is penciled in as the first arm out of the bullpen, and Hafey said Wayman may be called upon to seal the deal as the team's closer.
"We're ready to get out there and get the season started," Hafey said. "It's time to get out and play some ball."