Cardinals baseball team getting ready for season

Team plans small ball with focus on strong pitching, defense

Posted 1/28/19

High school baseball season doesn’t begin until March, but members of the Elizabeth coaches and players are practicing outside when weather permits, moving inside when the weather is cold or snowy. …

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Cardinals baseball team getting ready for season

Team plans small ball with focus on strong pitching, defense

Posted

High school baseball season doesn’t begin until March, but members of the Elizabeth coaches and players are practicing outside when weather permits, moving inside when the weather is cold or snowy.

“We want to be ready when the weather lets us get outside every day but right now we are practicing in the gym,” Cardinals coach Andrew Melton said. “We can do that because we have a drop-down net that provides the area so we can practice fielding, hitting and pitching. This is basketball and wrestling season and we work with them to schedule our practices when the gym is available.”

He said in addition to indoor practices, the team also holds strength and conditioning workouts.

The coach also said his team is fortunate because they are in a rural area and there are families with large barns that also can provide space for the team to practice.

The Cardinals open season play with a scrimmage at home against Palmer Ridge March 2 and play the first game of the season on the road at Golden on March 9.

Elizabeth won the league championship last year and Melton said he has a strong lineup of returning lettermen to help the Cardinals defend the league title.

“We graduated five seniors, which include our mid infielders. But we have good returning players in those position who I expect will step up and fill those positions,” the coach said. “Coming into this season we have five returning seniors, three returning juniors and two returning sophomores who were starters or got varsity playing time last season, so I feel we definitely will be contenders to repeat as league champs. However we are in a competitive league and I expect Canon City, The Classic Academy and Mesa Ridge will all have strong teams this season.”

He said the Cardinals will be tested early as they play a rigorous preseason schedule.

Melton said he expects team strengths to be defense and pitching.

“We will not be a power hitting team,” he said. “We will be playing small ball and the players will be swinging the bat a lot during practices now and in the spring so we can push runs across the plate.”

He said left-handed pitcher Tyler Richardson had a strong season on the mound last year and he expects the senior will be even stronger this season.

“Tyler has been on varsity since his freshman year,” the coach said. “He wants to continue to play baseball after graduation and plans to go play for the Vikings of Augustana Junior College in Rock Island, Illinois.”

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