PCHS baseball: Miners ready to work this season
Lou Green couldn’t do anything but laugh and shake his head.
The West Virginia native, who enters his second season as head coach of the Park City High School baseball team, said the irony of a tardy winter season, which happened to arrive just in time for the 2012 baseball season, doesn’t deter his excitement for the spring.
He said the Miners have no time to complain about the weather. Their season gets underway Monday at Grantsville.
"The day baseball starts, here it comes" he said during Thursday afternoon’s practice session at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse. "But we’ve got a good facility here, so no excuses. We’ll be ready."
Park City enters the season a different team from last season. Gone are offensive sparkplugs Robert Cashel, Skyler Barkdull and Connor Howard. Ditto for senior catcher Michael Gallagher and team leader Jason Scaglione.
And it’s clear Green needs this year’s players to adapt to one another as quickly as possible. The Miners will be led this year by senior first baseman Brae Dilley and senior left-handed pitcher Conner Lagnese. Junior shortstop and pitcher Mark Trevino is expected to help Park City both on the mound and replacing the power of Barkdull.
"They’re three really good guys," Green said. "They work 12 months out of the year and that’s what it takes. We’ll see. Everything’s a mystery.
"Everyone looks good in here. It’s when they get what they call the ‘White Line Fever,’ when you go between the white lines: A lot of guys, their game will excel a little, and some of the guys will dwindle."
Lagnese is expected to be the front-line starter in an impressive starting rotation that will feature Trevino, Nate Stanley and freestyle skier Gabe Cohen, who will join the team in April. The southpaw said he knows this year’s team will experience some growing pains Park City will replace six hitters in its starting lineup but said the only way the Miners will grow as a team is for the older, more-experienced players to pick their teammates up at all times.
"We’re going to have to step up and do everything we can to win, but I trust all those younger kids," Lagnese said. "They’re going to get the job done, I just know it.
"We’ve established that connection that they know they’re going to mess up, and so am I, but when they do, I’m going to go pat them on the back and say, ‘Let’s go get them next time.’"
Dilley, who will, no doubt, be Park City’s most important heart-of-the-order hitter, said with a talented pitching staff and a plethora of new additions to the lineup, the Miners must be able to manage games and limit opposing teams’ scoring.
"Our strength is our pitching and defense," he said.
A huge question mark for this year’s squad will come behind the plate. Michael Gallagher didn’t intimidate anyone with his bat, but commanded last year’s staff and was an exceptional defensive catcher.
Freshmen Chandler Anderson and Chandler Barkdull (the younger brother of Skyler Barkdull) are competing for the job with sophomore Nick Stanfill.
"It seems like a different guy wins the job every day we’re in here," Green said. "That’s a good sign because it seems we have a little depth, but it’s a bad sign when the most important position on the field is fielded by a freshman or sophomore."
Green said this year’s team may not be as fast as the 2011 squad that terrorized the base paths, but he said his team must be able to manufacture as many runs as it can in order to give the pitching staff a chance to close the door.
"We’ve got a lot of guys who can come in and get outs," he said. "We’re not going to overpower anyone with our hitting or pitching, but I don’t care how hard it is, as long as we’re getting guys out."
Green said while he knows what he’ll get out of the trio of Dilley, Trevino and Lagnese, there are a number of other players who will help determine the fate of this year’s team including Colin and Blake Morin, TJ Mayo, Cole Tan and Tim Leary.
"Win a position every day," he said. "It’s right on the back of our shirts: ‘Hard work.’ Can’t get anywhere as a program without doing that first."
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A group of Park City residents on Monday night criticized the prospects of City Hall developing a workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town. The people at a Marsac Building event raised a range of issues.