Chris Winder, shown in 2007 while playing for the American Legion, had a successful freshman year at Odessa College, in Texas, netting 71 hits and 31 stolen bases. Winder, who graduated in 2008 from Moffat County High School, will be playing summer ball for the Dodge City Athletics, in Dodge City, Kan.

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Chris Winder, shown in 2007 while playing for the American Legion, had a successful freshman year at Odessa College, in Texas, netting 71 hits and 31 stolen bases. Winder, who graduated in 2008 from Moffat County High School, will be playing summer ball for the Dodge City Athletics, in Dodge City, Kan.

Former MCHS standout completes 1st college season

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For Odessa College's leadoff hitter and Craig native Chris Winder, playing baseball in Texas has its advantages.

He doesn't have to worry about snowstorms shortening the season, and there really isn't an off-season.

"It's a pretty big change from Colorado," he said. "For one, we can play ball year-round."

Winder, who graduated from Moffat County High School in 2008, recently finished his freshman year at the college in Odessa, Texas.

Odessa College has a reputation for producing big leaguers, with more than 50 players drafted from the school.

And for Winder, that is good news.

The former MCHS standout previously had thought of coming out for Major League Baseball's June Amateur draft, but after heeding his coach's advice, he decided to return to college next year.

"I'm going back," he said. "We'll see what happens next year. If it doesn't work out, I'll just return to school."

Although Winder isn't sure which major he'll declare, his options look good - his 3.8 grade point average was as stellar as his .380 batting average.

"I liked school - my classes were pretty easy," he said.

Winder's season ended May 11, when the Odessa Wranglers lost to Temple College, 10-0, in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region V Tournament.

The Wranglers finished their season with 28 wins against 27 losses.

Overall, Winder had a successful season, swatting eight triples, nine home runs, 32 RBIs, 31 stolen bases and 71 base hits.

Winder, who played shortstop at MCHS, manned centerfield for the Wranglers, batting at the top of the order as a freshman.

"I like center - it's lot of fun," he said. "I don't know if I like it more than shortstop, but I like it a lot, probably as much as short.

"I like centerfield because I get to run around - cover a lot of ground, tracking down balls."

Perhaps one of the largest challenges in transitioning from high school to college baseball is the pitching, Winder said.

"It's a lot different," he said. "They can throw three pitches for strikes and pump-up the fastball in the low 90s. They throw a lot of off-speed stuff, too."

Winder said the hurlers able to mix up their pitches were the ones that gave him fits.

Not too many were able to accomplish that, though.

"My hitting probably improved the most," he said. "My coaches would say, 'This is what you're doing wrong,' and it helped for sure."

Winder said he would try to visit Craig as often as he could during the summer, but his schedule might get in his way.

He will compete in the summer Jayhawk League in Kansas, where he will suit up for the Dodge City Athletics.

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