Sailors baseball aims for strong season

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2008 baseball schedule

Saturday at Denver East (DH), 11 a.m.

March 14 at Hotchkiss tournament vs. Palisade, 3 p.m.

March 15 at Hotchkiss tournament vs. Hotchkiss, 11:30 a.m.

March 16 at Hotchkiss tournament vs. Cedaredge, 3 p.m.

March 22 at Glenwood Springs (DH), 11 a.m.

March 29 at Delta (DH), 11 a.m.

April 1 vs. Moffat County (tentative), 4 p.m.

April 5 at Palisade (DH), 11 a.m.

April 8 at Moffat County, 4 p.m.

April 12 vs. Rifle (DH), 11 a.m.

April 16 vs. Eagle Valley (DH), 11 a.m.

April 19 at Battle Mountain, 11 a.m.

May 3 Districts

May 9 to 10 Regionals

May 16 to 17 State

— As a four-year player on the Steamboat Springs baseball team, Elliot Girard has things pretty well surveyed.

He knows Moffat County - who entered the first spring polls at No. 8 in Class 4A - is expected to win the Western Slope League, with Palisade and Rifle battling for the top three spots.

He knows Steamboat is at a distinct disadvantage because most of the team's practice time is spent in the gym.

But the one thing that matters to Girard deals with his own ball club. In Girard's four years as a Sailor, the senior said this year's team is the most talented.

"I really want to be over .500. I want to finish in the top three in league," said Girard, Steamboat's lone all-league player last year. "I think we can do it. I think we can this year, more than the other three years. I think we're just better."

Steamboat's certainly fighting an uphill battle.

In addition to having to practice in the gym, and playing most of their games on the road, the Sailors are waiting on three potential players from the boys basketball team to finish their season.

One of those players, Alex Wood, is expected to be the No. 1 starter. The other two - freshmen Charles Wood and Isiah Forsyth - should provide depth.

Still, Sailors manager Dave Roy said he's pleased with the lineup he has right now.

"They are bringing some experience and excellent skill," Roy said. "I really believe we can put a team on the field - barring injury and sore arms that we face every year because of our situation - I think we can do the .500 thing."

Along with Girard and Alex Wood, Steamboat returns seniors Michael Lyon and Collin Boyle, and sophomores Cody Miles, Cody Harris and Alex Estes. New players include freshman Alan Capistron and junior Lars Johnson, a left-handed pitcher who moved from New York.

"We're just going to have to be focused always because obviously we don't get as much practice as other teams," Lyon said. "Being in the gym it's very limited, but if we work hard we should do it. We just have to take advantage of what we have."

With the pitching staff being the biggest question, Roy said to reach the .500 plateau and battle with other teams in the league, Steamboat has to cut down its errors and take advantage with runners in scoring position.

"I think we're going to be a lot stronger defensively," Roy said. "If we can cut down on our errors and put the bat on the ball more often, we have a chance."

Steamboat opens up at 11 a.m. Saturday with a doubleheader at Denver East.

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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