The Park City Baseball Miners — a club that is made up of almost entirely Park City High School kids — begins its summer season on Monday
It’s been a very weird time for David Feasler as of late.
With the sun shining bright and temperatures reaching the mid-70s, the Park City High School baseball coach is typically preparing his Miners for the UHSAA state baseball tournament. But with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down high school sports, Feasler has been relegated to just working on the baseball field with none of his players in sight.
“If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that baseball guys have to be on a baseball field during this time of the year when the weather is perfect,” Feasler said. “It’s been hard not doing what I love, especially because this is the longest break from baseball I’ve had in any form of life since I was a little kid, probably. I’m so pumped because I need baseball in my life. … And with nothing happening in half of March and all of April and May, it’s really exciting to be able to get back to work and get those competitive juices flowing.”
The reason for that excitement is that while the high school season didn’t happen, Feasler and his motley crew are getting back to work on the diamond.
The Park City Baseball Miners, a club team that is made up of almost entirely Park City High School kids, is beginning its summer season on Monday, June 8 at Orem High School.
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The Miners, which are composed of a varsity team and an underclassmen team, will be playing three days a week for the next five weeks. The varsity squad will play doubleheaders on Tuesdays that are set to begin at 4 p.m., while the underclassmen will play single games on Mondays and Thursdays at 5 p.m.
“I originally came into the office last Friday (May 29) to figure out who I needed to talk too so we could find a way to play,” Feasler said. “But then I found out later that same day that we were approved and going to gave a league season. … Then Jamie Sheetz (Park City High School activities director) told me we are good to go starting Monday so it was all about calling the boys and making sure we were ready to go when Monday around.”
Feasler wasn’t the only high school coach in the area with the idea of playing summer baseball.
According to him, the Utah Summer League came about because he and other coaches wanted to find a way to play this summer. So after multiple conversations over the past few weeks, they finally figured out a safe and responsible way to organize the league that complied with all of the restrictions laid out by their respective counties.
Typically summer leagues come after the grueling spring high school seasons, so they’re used more for development and fun than competition. Feasler said that will be one of the changes taking place this season because the Miners are all in this summer and looking to win.
“It’s going to be serious for us because I’ll be putting a team out there that’s going to give us our best chance at winning some ball games,” Feasler said. “The summer is usually developmental but since we missed the spring season, I felt very comfortable going out there to compete and win. What’s great is that the kids are in the same boat and with the same mindset. … They want to go out and compete, and win some ball games.”
However one thing this summer season won’t do is make up for the lack of a spring season.
While it still hurts that the Miners couldn’t send their seniors off the right way, Feasler said they’re moving past it and he’s looking forward to coaching those seniors one more time. And those seniors are looking forward to suiting up with their old teammates again.
“It’s my last chance to play with Feasler and those guys and there’s no way I’m going to miss this chance,” said former senior Ryan Jeffrey. “It’s just been great to be out on the field again, laughing and practicing with my teammates again. We were off to a really good start earlier this year so it was weird how it ended, but at least we get a chance to play together again.”
The competition is expected to be stiff this summer as both Bingham, Riverton and a team made up of college athletes are among those in the 12-team league. According to Feasler, Bingham is one of the top teams in the state regardless of classification and Riverton was off to a 3-0 start this past spring.
Playing against such good competition is part of what Feasler is most excited about because he believes it’ll help the development of his younger players, led by to-be seniors Kellen Denkers, Ryan Hunt and Nick Stokes.
“This is a really talented class. … And with 13 of them in it, there’s easily seven or eight of them who could play a major role for us this summer and next season,” Feasler said.
The Miners will also be participating in at least two tournaments throughout the summer, giving them around 20-25 games in the season. They’ll play in the Firecracker Tournament and a Pioneer Day weekend tournament, both of which will take place in July.
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Offerings will include scenic lift rides, hiking and biking, the alpine slide and the mountain coaster, with grab-and-go dining available at Jupiter Java, the resort said.