April 9, 2009
By Mal Boright
A rainy week is keeping the Champlain Valley Union High baseball team indoors as it continues work toward the 2009 season opener, slated for Tuesday, when Route 116 neighbor Mount Abraham Union drops by for a 4:30 p.m. contest.
Whether the field will be playable was iffy as of press deadline.
“We could use a couple of sunny days with 60 mile-per-hour winds,” head coach Tim Albertson said Monday, noting that the home field was waterlogged.
He said it is probable that scheduled pre-season home scrimmages against Vergennes High on Thursday and Mount Mansfield Union on Saturday will be moved to the opponents’ fields, provided they are playable.
Despite the mostly indoor practices — the team did get out one recent sunny day to chase some fly balls — Albertson is optimistic that the team is shaping up well.
“Overall I think we are going to be a pretty good team,” the first year mentor said.
He thinks the Redhawks can finish in the top half of the division.
“Our pitching staff looks good,” Albertson said of one of the most vital positions. “Onnie (assistant coach Onnie Matthews) said (Monday) that the pitchers were throwing the best they have to date.”
Veterans Collin Teator and Theron Fuller appear likely to be the one and two starters, with David Titus, up from jayvees, and returning first baseman Shane Montani also getting in some mound work.
Co-captain Joe Myers, also a veteran, has nailed down the catching position.
Veteran Jared Badger will start in center field with Carl Lozon, who missed last season with an injury, taking up an outfield or designated hitter slot.
Albertson believes the team will hit “pretty well,” adding, “we will probably play the short game more than in the past.”
The coach expects some clout to come from, among others, Andy Leckerling and Konnor Fleming.
“We also have good speed,” the coach observed, citing J. P. Benoit as a potential scooter.
Albertson is working with 18 players at the varsity level with several position decisions yet to come. Another 19 players are under the guidance of Gary Jedniak at the junior varsity level.