by Tad Barton
Spring is here and with it spring sports at San Juan High kick off, including baseball, softball, track, tennis and girls golf.
Both the baseball and softball teams got things going this past weekend as the softball team traveled to Bloomfield, NM to play in the Bloomfield Tournament and the baseball team traveled to Kanab to play in the Chuck Wagon Classic.
The baseball team is optimistic about this season under new head coach Ryan Palmer.
Palmer said, “We have very high expectations, and the potential for this team is sky high.”
Before we report about last week’s games, here is a little season preview for the San Juan baseball team.
Head Coach: Ryan Palmer - First Year
Previous year record: 8-12
Post season results, if applicable: Loss to Gunnison in the first round of the 2A tournament and Beaver in the one-loss bracket.
2016 Team Strengths: Hitting; we’ll be able to put up a lot of runs. We have a lot of strong defensive starters returning.
2016 Team Weakness: We have a lot of good pitchers, but we lack a clear ace at the pitching position. We will be pitching by committee and rolling with who has the hot hand.
Number of returning starters, grade and position: Bronze Eldredge: 12th, 1B; Mason Bethea: 12th, P, third, SS, second; Kavika Su’eSu’e: 11th, Catcher; Jaxon Lee: 11th, SS, 2nd, P; Jordan Blake: 11th, CF, P; Baylr Eldredge: 10th, SS, P, second; Zach Brown: 11th, 1B, P.
Players to watch in 2016 grade, position and coach’s expectations: Strong returning starters, including those mentioned above should make key contributions both offensively and on defense. Should compete at the top of the region and make a deep run in the playoffs.
On Friday, March 11, at the Chuck Wagon Classic the Broncos split their opening day games. In their first game they faced off with the Richfield Wildcats. The Broncos dropped their opening game of the season to the Wildcats, 12-3.
San Juan bounced back in their second game with a huge 23-2 win over the Fredonia Lynx, from Fredonia, AZ.
San Juan then improved to 2-1 on the season with a victory over Manti, edging the Templars in a tight 10-9 game.
In the last game of the tournament the Broncos were pitted against the host team, the Kanab Cowboys. As of press time, the results of that game were unknown.
The Broncos host the annual San Juan Slugfest Tournament on March 18.
San Juan will open up the tournament against Pagosa Springs Pirates. That game is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. They will then play the Summit Academy Bears at 3:45 p.m.
On Saturday the 19th, the Broncos will take on the Shiprock Chieftains at 1:30 p.m. and the Nucla Mustangs at 3:45 p.m.
All games will be played at Centennial Park in Blanding, UT.
The Lady Bronco softball team got the season underway over the weekend in Bloomfield, NM. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
The Lady Broncos led the Kirtland Central Broncos throughout most of the game. San Juan took a two point lead, 3-1, into the fifth inning and looked to be in control of the game. Kirtland Central had other ideas as they pushed eight runs across the plate in the fifth to take a commanding 9-3 lead.
San Juan put on a late rally, scoring four more runs in the top of the seventh. Ultimately it wasn’t enough, as they fell to Kirtland Central, 9-7.
The Broncos also fell against the host, Bloomfield Bobcats, 11-1 and defeated Gallup 6-1.