MCHS baseball season swings into action |

MCHS baseball season swings into action

Moffat County High School boys team playing doubleheader today in Rifle

Ben Bulkeley

Senior Paul Collins works on his batting skills during baseball practice Friday in the Moffat County High School gymnasium. The team will play at 2 p.m. today in Rifle for a season-opening doubleheader.

Starting today, the Moffat County High School boys varsity baseball team will see a change.

The wooden floors of the MCHS gymnasium will be replaced with the turf of an outdoor diamond — and the games will count.

The team kicks off its season at 2 p.m. today when the Bulldogs travel to Rifle for a doubleheader with the Bears.

As the hitters take their first cuts not under the gym lights, head coach Justin Folley said he didn't want the Bulldogs to keep their bats on their shoulders.

"Mostly, I want them to be aggressive," he said. "Right off the bat, I want to see them go after it.

"If we keep the ball in front of us, we'll be fine. Pitching wise, we just need to be consistent."

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Having only practiced in the gym made Folley apprehensive as the Bulldogs head outdoors.

"Not practicing outside makes me a little nervous," he said. "We've been trying to get everyone outside to take grounders and fly balls, but not having been outside is my main concern right now."

Folley said the team's lineup is almost set.

"I have a pretty good idea," he said. "It might change some between (Friday) and (today), and it will change from the first game to the second."

The team will be shorthanded in its first game, as Hayden's Ben Williams and Mark Doolin are unavailable because of the state basketball tournament, and Greg Blackstun is in Denver competing in the speech and debate state tournament.

But with vacancies, some of the team's new players could prove themselves, Folley said.

"I expect our guys to step up," Folley said. "Two good games can get you into the starting lineup really quickly.

"I want to see them take the opportunity and run with it."

Senior Nathan Hill will get the ball in the first game with fellow senior Halen Raymond getting the start in the nightcap.

"I want to see them throw consistently," Folley said. "I want to see them keep the ball down, and pitch to outs.

"I don't want to see them try to throw a no-hitter, I just want them to pitch to outs."

But a good outing will help the Bulldogs in their efforts to rebound from last season's 3-13 season.

"We're trying to build a good name for ourselves," he said. "In the first game, if we can step up and have a good showing, it will help us moving forward."

But the most important part of today's games is to kick off the season on a positive note, Folley said.

"We get to get outside and have fun," he said. "Either way, it's exciting to play outside again."

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