The boys of summer
It’s evident in every catch and every hit that the Miners baseball team makes during their summer league play confidence, a confidence that’s building after one of their most successful prep seasons in years.
The Miners finished the year with a collective .330 batting average and averaged just under 10 runs per game.
"All in all, it made for a successful team in my mind," said Park City head baseball coach Howard Hoyt.
The Miners made it to the second round of the state tournament, suffering a difficult loss to Juan Diego. But a month later, the team’s accomplishments have become something to celebrate.
"When you put it in perspective, it’s been one of the best performing teams," Hoyt said.
Just a week ago, senior Andrew Hoyt was named first-team All State in both coaches polls, along with an honorable mention of sophomore catcher Parker Morin. Hoyt finished the season with a .538 batting average, 25 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. Morin had a .534 batting average and 23 RBIs. Numerous honors were also handed out in Region 10.
The season brought an influx of local youth into the sport. More and more youth are playing baseball in Park City, which will fortify the team for years to come.
"The program got a huge boost this year from the results," Hoyt said.
Hoyt loses five of his seniors, but the talent from the development programs in Park City continues to flow into the program. Among his only concerns is the situation on the mound as he lost the bulk of his pitching staff was lost to graduation.
Enter summer ball. The solution to getting new players ready for the demands of competitive prep baseball and a chance for Hoyt and his staff to see their all of their players perform at a number of different positions without the duress of the regular season.
"Summer ball is about getting innings in," Hoyt said. "We’re not worried about wins and losses. No one has a position. We’re back to square one"
There are two teams one for 17 year olds and the other for 16 year olds although Hoyt said that the age lines smears a bit with various ages on both teams according to ability. Hoyt hopes to use the summer to cut down on mental errors that plagued the team later in the prep season. He also hopes that the added experience will help the athletes develop better game strategy.
"You got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them," chuckled Hoyt.
Summer is also ideal for Park City baseball players as warm, windy days are almost guaranteed. No waiting on the snow to melt to play and most teams want to come up to Park City to play to avoid the desert heat elsewhere in the state.
"Park City is a great place to play baseball, so people love to come up and play," Hoyt said.
The summer season continues until the end of July, giving the team a break until the beginning of the school year. Fall ball will start up on Labor Day, but Hoyt says even then the weather can be questionable.
Hoyt figures with a solid off-season he will be able to build a new pitching staff, and speed up the readiness of many of the upperclassman to play on the varsity and junior varsity levels.
Park City will still have its share of challenges when they take to the field next season. Region rival Judge Memorial returns seven starters, including Joe Pond, perhaps the state’s best pitcher.
Hoyt has some lofty goals before next season besides just improving the team. He hopes to raise funds upwards of $50,000 to put dugouts on the Park City field a much needed improvement for diamond so susceptible to the weather. He’s not sure where the money or the approval will come from, but he remains hopeful. He also needs to replace team managers and moms as many graduated away from the program with their sons. Luckily he wills same the same staff in tact for the coming year.
"The support of the parents and the coaching staff I can’t say enough about those people," Hoyt said.
Hoyt said that Parkites are invited to watch the summer league games. To view a schedule for wither team, visit http://www.utahbaseballacademy.com.
First Team: Andrew Hoyt
Honorable Mention: Parker Morin
First Team: Andrew Hoyt, Parker Morin
Second Team: Brett Sanchez, Ricky Mallott
Honorable Mention: Matt Gage, Scott Neuenschwander
MVP- Andrew Hoyt
Offensive Player of the Year: Parker Morin
Defensive Player of the Year: Brett Sanchez
Comeback Player of the Year: Ricky Mallott
MVP- Vince Giordano
Offensive Player of the Year: Caleb Figge
Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Shapard
Comeback Player of the Year: Marshall Crawford
MVP- David Feasler, Dakota Matherly
Offensive Player of the Year: David Snyder
Defensive Player of the Year: Les Ashwood
Comeback Player of the Year: Kam Paulsen
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Arlene Loble served as the Park City manager in the 1980s, a pivotal period that prepared the community for the boom years that would follow in the 1990s. Loble, who recently died, is credited with introducing a level of professionalism to the municipal government that was needed amid the growth challenges.