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Vail Valley preps: Happy spring

Happy spring, everyone.

Yeah, it looks like spring, sort of, well, it’s spring in the Rockies.

I spent a good portion of Wednesday typing out schedules for games, which will, undoubtedly, be snowed out and rescheduled and snowed out again.

With our first events six days from now, here are your marching orders:

Baseball

First and foremost, expect the Giants win the National League West. You silly little Rockies fans think the division is yours. Your pitching staff simply can’t match up with the 2010 World Series champions. (Gosh, I love typing that.) Tulo and CarGo are nice, but our little pop-gun offense is enough.

In fact, new rule, whether you play for Eagle Valley or Battle Mountain, you must grow a beard like Brian Wilson or let your hair out like Tim Lincecum.

As for the other five divisions, Cardinals, Phillies A’s, Twins and Red Sox.

On the local front, whether you suit up in red and black or Vegas gold, no walks. Walks score. They do in the Majors and they do in 4A Colorado baseball. The key to the latter is throwing strikes. If they hit it out, fine. Just keep your team in the game and soak up innings, especially with the doubleheaders the local teams play.

For Eagle Valley, the challenge is to move into the tier of Delta and Palisade in the Slope. You split with Palisade last year and Delta remains elusive. The Panthers don’t walk on water, and you get them at the end of the season.

(By the way, it’s a good thing that Eagle Valley’s managed by a Tigers fan still.)

In 1968, the Tigers beat the Cardinals in seven games, which is our way of transitioning to Battle Mountain. (Sorry for bringing it up, Jason, but you’ll win the Central.) The Huskies had multiple wins, including league victories against Glenwood and Steamboat Springs, last year.

Battle Mountain, you’ve got to move beyond, “We’re totally psyched to win a game” status. I understand the difficulty of baseball upvalley. You’ve had a few years to figure it. Get it done.

And for both teams, anything is possible. Glenwood beat Delta, 13-3, last year. Yes, Glenwood.

Lacrosse

Welcome to year three. All four lax teams are still understandably trying to get a leg up on their expansion counterparts – Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Fruita, Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs all entered the Mountain Conference at the same time.

The Battle Mountain boys were the first to get a win over an established team – Aspen – last year. Though the Huskies have their third coach in as many seasons, they return a lot of talent.

The first step for the Eagle Valley boys is to be healthy. You can’t have your starting goalie on the bench. With the full complement, Eagle Valley can break into the win column against Glenwood and the other “expansion” teams.

Meanwhile, the Eagle Valley ladies probably have the upper hand locally. For either set of ladies, the next step is getting with Grand Junction and Fruita.

By the way, Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain lax play twice this month if anyone’s interested.

Soccer

Battle Mountain is young but talented. The Springses are the favorites. Glenwood won league last year and Steamboat is always Steamboat. Watch how the Huskies group develops during the season. This might be very interesting.

Good on Battle Mountain for adding Cheyenne Mountain to the schedule.

And now to blaspheme. Vail Mountain School soccer is solid. I know we’re meant to talk about the process and that wins and loss are but impostors. Fine. VMS soccer needs to win the games it should. I know the Gore Rangers like to compete in big games against Basalt and Coal Ridge, and that’s admirable.

But if you take care of teams like Rifle, Grand Valley and so on beforehand, so much the better. The Slope has five spots in the state tournament. (Whether that’s warranted or not, that’s reality, and I hope to see orange in May.)

In the meantime, VMS coach and full-throated Red Sox fan Bob Bandoni and I will discuss how excited we are that Adrian Gonzalez was traded from the San Diego Padres to Boston.

Candidly, it’s going to be a tough year for Vail Christian and Eagle Valley. The Saints appear to be without goalie Dakota Francis, who got hurt during basketball. If that’s the case, the Saints have a huge hole to fill.

Eagle Valley is in a perpetual state of rebuilding since it moved to 4A. That said, coach Jason Rittmiller has done it on the boys side, turning the Devils from laughingstock to league and state contenders.

Either way, the Saints and Devils will have their moments, and, this is important, people, the journey and the lessons learned are what we all take from high school sports.

Track

As usual at the 4A level, the focus will be on the No. 18. The top-18 times and distances at the end of the season make it to state. Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain should be strong in the 1,600 and the 3,200 on these counts. (Just look at cross country last fall.)

The question for both teams is the next step. Can they get sprinters, throwers and jumpers?

Speaking of jumpers, can Kylie Alexander do the pole vault?

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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