Baseball Falcons to Tucson, Feb. 24-26, for annual pre-season tournament

New Head Coach Spencer Grace counting on 13 seniors to lead; first home game vs. Flagstaff, March 1

baseball seniorsWill 13 be their lucky number?  Baseball seniors (front, l-r) Scott Freeman (3b), Charlie Dominick (ss), Brent Nurre (lf), Robert Ryan (2b), Jacob McIntyre (c), Matt Herrera (p); (back, l-r) Joey Ford (p/ss), Connor Sabanosh (c/inf.), John Leonard (rf), Max Patterson (1b), Ryan Nemger (rf/p), Scott Walter (p), Riley Wicker (p/of).  Photos by Pete Mohr

CSHS – Assuming that the left side of Falcon Field’s rain-deluged infield can be made playable by 4 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 22, the Baseball Falcons, under new Head Coach Spencer Grace, opened 2011 play by scrimmaging the Shadow Mountain Matadors. Senior Joey Ford will start for the ‘Birds. Then it’s down to Tucson, Thursday-Saturday, for the “Cowboy-Up Classic,” co-hosted by Catalina Foothills and Sahuaro.

First regular season home game will be against the Flagstaff Eagles, Tuesday, March 1, 4 p.m. first pitch.

If confidence and enthusiasm count, the Falcs are poised for an outstanding season. When asked by Sonoran News for his pre-season goal, Coach Grace exclaimed, “State Championship or bust!”  He wasn’t kidding. “We have the talent and experience (13 seniors), and I’m looking forward to working with my solid coaching staff. If these kids will work hard and trust us, we’re going to have a great season.”

Coach Grace and pitching coach Andrew Speer will be looking early-on to find a reliable third starter behind senior Joey Ford and junior Sean O’Grady, both of whom turned in solid 2010 performances.  In relief, this writer is betting on junior Grant Lasley to regain his “bulldog” toughness. He can also capably spell Max Patterson at first base defensively.

Hitting coach Albie Goulder will rely on the Falcs’ 3-4-5-6 slots to do the damage: seniors Connor Sabanosh, John Leonard, Brent Nurre and Patterson. Leonard (who hit a towering home run in his first varsity at-bat in 2010) and Patterson could be the “X” factors in the Falcons’ offensive productivity.

The Tucson tourney later this week will be a valuable tune-up and talent evaluation. Raymond Kellis (March 3, away) and Sunrise Mountain (March 8, at home) will provide early season tests before the March 11-16 Spring Break Tournament.

“Play ball!”

baseball coachesPhotographed by Sonoran News in their new “clubhouse” (l-r): Assistant Coach Andrew Speer [CSHS ‘04], Assistant Coach Albie Goulder [CSHS ‘04], Head Coach Spencer Grace, Assistant Coach Flynn Carr, JV Head Coach Brandon Padron. Not available for photo: Assistant Coach Steve Scarpulla, Freshman Coach Chad DeGrenier.