Steamboat Springs High School’s Brandon Clark practices hitting during practice inside the school  Thursday.  The baseball team plays today and Saturday in Paonia.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School’s Brandon Clark practices hitting during practice inside the school Thursday. The baseball team plays today and Saturday in Paonia.

Steamboat baseball eyes playoffs

Sailors team returns 9 lettermen, plays today against Paonia

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2010 Steamboat Springs baseball

Today, 12:30 p.m., at Paonia

Today, 3 p.m., vs. Resurrection Christian at Paonia

Saturday, 10 a.m., vs. Cedaredge at Paonia

March 27, 11 a.m., at Glenwood Springs (doubleheader)

April 3, 11 a.m., at Delta

April 10, 11 a.m., vs. Palisade

April 13, 4 p.m., at Moffat County

April 17, 11 a.m., vs. Rifle

April 24, 11 a.m., at Battle Mountain

April 27, 6 p.m., vs. Moffat County

May 1, 11 a.m., vs. Eagle Valley

May 14, TBA, district playoffs begin

At the conclusion of last season, the Steamboat Springs High School boys baseball team sat on the outside of the playoffs by a single game.

In that game, Steamboat held the lead against Palisade but lost it in the seventh inning.

“I think guys remember that, but I don’t think anyone is dwelling on it,” Steamboat manager Dave Roy said. “This team knows it can win. We won a lot in the (American) Legion season, and we’re pretty much playing the same guys as we do in the league. That winning attitude carries over.”

But the Sailors team will have a new look, of sorts. Gone are pitching stalwarts Alex Wood and Lars Johnson, who proved to be inning eaters and a formidable 1-2 in the rotation. Steamboat does return nine lettermen and a formidable lineup.

But as it always is — and maybe even more so on the Western Slope — baseball in the spring usually is won with the pitching staff.

“Anything we can add to our staff is going to be important,” Roy said.

Junior Alan Capistron is expected to be the No. 1 pitcher. He’ll get help in Tommy Lyon, Carson Becker, Tyler Brown and Matt Watwood.

The team also will get the chance to again work with Jeff LaRoche, a former pitcher who spent years playing professional baseball.

“Once we do start throwing strikes, if we field the ball, we’ll be fine,” Capistron said. “We just have to keep the errors to a minimum.”

The lineup, however, should be a strength. Lyon is expected to lead off, and Capistron, Watwood and catcher Brandon Clark create an imposing 3-4-5.

During the American Leg­ion season, Capistron and Watwood combined for 15 home runs.

“I feel like we’re still working on making sure people are in the right position,” Lyon said. “But I feel like we have a lot of potential on this team.”

Steamboat should have the opportunity to make the playoffs. Delta and Palisade are expected to be the class of the Western Slope League with Steamboat, Glenwood Springs, Eagle Valley and Moffat County making up the second tier of teams.

Roy said he was encouraged by last weekend’s performance at Denver East.

Although he’s still trying to fit the pieces together, Roy thinks a playoff run is a distinct possibility.

“There are guys we should split with and guys we should win two from,” he said. “If we do that, then we’ll meet our goal of making the playoffs.”

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