The Moffat County High School boys varsity baseball team will kick off its preseason at 10 a.m. today when the Bulldogs play in the Lloyd McMillan Baseball Tournament in Montrose.
The team’s first game will pit the Bulldogs (1-1 overall, 1-1 in the Western Slope League) against Emery High School (5-0 overall).
Coach Justin Folley said the tournament, in which the Bulldogs will play at least three games, is a good warm-up for his team.
“Basically, this is our preseason,” he said. “It’s also our only real road trip, so I want the guys to have fun.”
The team will play in the eight-team tournament today and Saturday.
MCHS is coming off a March 13 road split in Rifle.
The Bulldogs lost the first game, 15-5, but won the second game, 10-9, behind a Dylon Camilletti walk-off double.
This weekend, the team will have its full pitching staff as Hayden’s Mark Doolin and Ben Williams return from the state basketball tournament.
Moffat County also will have senior second baseman Greg Blackstun back.
“Having everyone back is a big help,” Folley said. “Our pitching should be solidified. We have our ace (Williams) back.
“Those guys should solidify our pitching and our offense.”
Having Blackstun’s glove back at second base will help the Bulldogs up the middle, Folley said.
Folley said the team’s lineup should resemble the one featured last summer during the American Legion season.
“Some of the guys who are struggling, I might move down the order so they can see some more fastballs,” he said. “With Williams on the mound, our defense will be good, and when he isn’t pitching, he helps our outfield defense a lot.”
The pitching rotation will include Williams in the first game, Nathan Hill in the second and Doolin in the third game.
The team also has been able to get onto its field and take grounders outside, which also will boost the defense, Folley said.
With the team getting prepared to enter the bulk of its season, Folley said the early season games will only help the team moving forward.
“It will be a good experience for us,” he said. “They get to face some different teams from outside our conference.”