Senior salute: Battle Mountain baseball
A new manager and a new team
First, let’s get this out of the way.
The new guy’s alma mater was a little strange for those at Battle Mountain. Harrison Stevens, the new skipper of Huskies baseball, graduated from a school called Eagle Valley in 2015. Yes, he was on the Battle Mountain hockey team because it’s the only hockey team in the county, and Huskies hockey is the United Nations these days.
But he wore black, red and white in Gypsum as a quarterback in football and an outfielder in baseball.
“There were jokes. They weren’t bad,” Stevens said. “They were like, ‘You’re going to the dark side.'”
In fairness to Stevens, an Eagle Valley baseball alum moving east on Interstate 70 is not unprecedented. Jose Meza skippered the Huskies from 2012-17. And in fairness to Stevens, it was perhaps apropos.
As Battle Mountain baseball hoped to make its way up the Western Slope standings this spring, half of the Class of 2020 on the club were transfers from elsewhere. Shortstop Colin Fuller (Denver Academy), third-baseman Dalton Patterson (Wisconsin) and catcher Parker Lutz (Cherry Creek).
Joining them were jack-of-all-trades Martin Velazco and Huskies veterans Garrett Anderson and Spencer Goldberg as the team’s seniors.
Nonetheless, baseball is a rough go in the High Country, particularly at Battle Mountain where the snow gets more time out on the field than the players do thanks to a generally late-arriving spring.
Every team from every school in every sport was obviously going to have a breakthrough season and Huskies baseball was no exception. In fairness to the Edwards nine, it seemed to be rising from 0-17 in 2017 to 10-13 last spring.
While, of course, the hypothetical 2020 season was about wins and losses, it was also about establishing a culture.
“We had a great group of seniors,” Stevens said. “Early on, we discussed that they needed to set an example daily and show the younger guys how to do things correctly. They took on that leadership role and that was huge.”
Baseball’s a game of routine, repetition and ritual and the Senior Six were setting the tone in voluntary winter workouts to the start of the season in March. Stevens, who played college ball at Colby Community College in Kansas and at Missouri’s Evangel University, believes that will be the sextet’s legacy to the program.
Here are some fun tidbits on the team’s six seniors.
• Fuller: According to Stevens, “very talented and fun kid to be around.”
• Patterson: He’s hoping to walk on to the baseball team at Coastal Carolina. Go Chants.
• Anderson: The quiet-leader type, leading by example for the younger players on the team. This is with good reason as Anderson led the school’s teams in football and baseball.
•Velazco: In charge of keeping it light. He enjoys playing baseball with his buddies.
• Lutz: Worked his rear end off. Optional offseason practices were not optional in Lutz’s mind.
• Goldberg: Like Anderson, we’ve seen him in football, too. What was going to be interesting to watch was his transition, a move for the good of the team, from designated hitter to first base this season.