Justin Folley, left, American Legion baseball coach, hits a ball to the outfield during practice Thursday at Craig Middle School. The team will play Steamboat Springs at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m Saturday in a doubleheader at the CMS field.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Justin Folley, left, American Legion baseball coach, hits a ball to the outfield during practice Thursday at Craig Middle School. The team will play Steamboat Springs at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m Saturday in a doubleheader at the CMS field.

American Legion baseball team prepares for Saturday tilt with Steamboat Springs

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Halen Raymond throws to a teammate Thursday during American Legion baseball practice at Craig Middle School.

For the Moffat County American Legion baseball team's third game of the young season, first-year coach Justin Folley will have a bit of a challenge.

Not getting his team too fired up.

With Steamboat Springs coming to town Saturday, Folley wants his team to remain focused and not get caught up in the rivalry.

"It's going to be a bit of a battle," Folley said. "Craig and Steamboat are such big rivals - it's going to be fun."

Folley may be the new skipper of the team, but he isn't new to the rivalry. He was an assistant coach for the boys varsity team in the spring.

Along with teaching at Craig Middle School where several incoming freshmen went to school last year, Folley said not too many introductions had to be made.

"I see them all the time - some, I see more than I want to," he said laughing.

The team has looked good in the early go-round, Folley said, if not a little overconfident.

"So far, we've split our games," Folley said. "We're getting there. We have a young team, and every time they go out they get more experience, which is the best way.

"I think we'll be able to hold our own in the conference."

For leadership, Folley will turn to junior Ben Williams, who is slotted as the team's starting pitcher for the first game of this week's doubleheader.

Folley said he still is looking for a solid number two starting pitcher behind Williams.

Seniors Scott Costello, Halen Raymond, Austin Sadvar, Nathan Hill and Greg Blackstun also will add experience to the lineup.

"We have a good core of older kids, and a number of freshmen coming in," Folley said. "I have met a lot of the kids from working at CMS, and I'll have a chance to get to know them better before school starts."

A pair of recently graduated seniors, Erick Leonard and Spencer Wayman, will be in the dugout alongside Folley.

"I'm trying to help out a little bit," Wayman said. "I feel like I missed out a little bit - I only played for two years, and I wasn't ready to walk away.

"I'm ready to help any way I can."

That way, primarily, will be helping outfielders with positioning and form.

For Wayman, who hasn't been out of school for more than a week, the experience is mixed.

"It's a little weird, because I was playing with these kids on the same team two months ago," he said. "It's kind of nice to be a part of the hierarchy, though."

For the young coach, being in the dugout represents an opportunity to expand his baseball knowledge.

"I'm still learning myself," Wayman said. "It's nice, it's going to help me."

The first game of the doubleheader will start at 11 a.m., with the second game at 1 p.m. Saturday. Both games will be at Craig Middle School.

Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or bbulkeley@craigdailypress.com.

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