New season, clean plate: Summit High baseball team poised to take on challenging schedule
Summit baseball team falls to Montrose 10-9 in season opener
The Summit High School boys baseball team may have made the Class 4A state playoffs last spring, but the team is beginning the 2023 baseball season with a fresh mindset and a clean slate.
“We are not trying to compare necessarily to last season though,” said head coach Patrick Stehler. “Our schedule is a lot different being in a new cycle so we are playing some more difficult teams and we are definitely going to have to grind out some wins this year.”
During the 2022 season, Summit proved to be particularly good at grinding out wins, especially at the latter part of the season. After dropping a doubleheader matchup against Palisade High School in the middle of the season, Summit went on to win 12 straight games to close out the regular season.
The push helped the team secure a wildcard spot in the Class 4A playoffs and finish the regular season with a 16-6 record. Summit went on to lose to No. 22 Erie High School 15-0 in the regional round of the state playoffs.
With six seniors on the roster this season, the team is full of talent, maturity and leadership that will hopefully pull the team to more wins this season. Stehler said he thinks the leadership level from his seniors is the highest it has been in the recent history of the program.
Stehler says he the team will lean on players like seniors Will Koll, Cassius Bradford and Zach Willms throughout the course of the season for leadership and standout performances.
“All three of them were all-conference baseball players last season and we are looking for them to carry it over this season as well,” Stehler said.
The increased level of leadership and athletic ability from the team’s core of seniors and upperclassmen, gave way to a great few weeks of practice leading into the team’s first game of the season on Friday, March 10, against Montrose High School.
“So far I feel like we are off to a decent start,” Stehler said. “All the guys have been working hard and we are excited to see where we go this season.”
In the their first game of the season against Montrose, the Tigers fared well against a program that shutout Summit 10-0 last season. The two teams battled back and forth for the majority of the seven-inning affair.
After exchanging points for the first five innings, the game reached a turning point when freshman Sam Eldredge gave Summit a 9-5 lead by rocketing a hit over the back fence for the first grand slam of his high school career.
The Red Hawks fired back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring 4 points to head into the final inning tied 9-9.
The Tigers tried and failed to score runs in the top of the seventh, and Montrose put the game away in the bottom of the inning by bringing in the go-ahead run. Montrose defeated Summit 10-9.
“We battled hard, the energy was great,” Stehler said. “Came up a little bit short. Errors definitely hurt us in that first game.”
Although the loss was not what Summit was looking for to begin the season, Stehler was encouraged by the team’s play, especially compared to last year’s game against Montrose.
“It shows we have come a long way since the beginning of last season, but more importantly we just want to put this first loss behind us and keep moving forward,” Stehler said. “The progress we have made thus far we see nothing but upset potential moving forward throughout the rest of the season.”
Outside of the hard slate of games throughout the spring, the Summit baseball team will once again be challenged by playing the majority of its games on the road, since the baseball diamond on the Frisco Peninsula is not expected to be dried out or playable until at least May.
The unique set of conditions is something that Summit faces every season and forces the team to keep up an energy in the dugout and out in the field.
“A lot of that energy will come from the dugout,” Stehler said. “Staying loud and staying active in the dugout is definitely something that keeps them engaged and can help turn the tables of any given baseball game. Without home fans or home parents they understand it is kind of on them to bring their own noise and to give themselves some of their own environment.”
Summit will look to bring its own home-atmosphere energy to a doubleheader matchup against 4A Western Slope league opponent Glenwood Springs High School on Saturday, March 25.
Summit’s first game against Glenwood Springs is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. with the second game starting at 3 p.m.
Summit was originally scheduled for a doubleheader at Rifle High School on March 18, but the games were canceled. They will be rescheduled for later in the season.
March 25 at Glenwood Springs, 1 p.m.
March 25 at Glenwood Springs, 3 p.m.
March 28 at Conifer, 4 p.m.
April 1 at Evergreen, 1 p.m.
April 4 at Basalt, 4 p.m.
April 8 at Palisade, 1 p.m.
April 8 at Palisade, TBD
April 11 at Rifle, 5 p.m.
April 17 at Ridgeline (Utah), 4 p.m.
April 18 at Twin Falls (Idaho), 11:30 a.m.
April 18 at Highland (Idaho), 2 p.m.
April 28 at Kennedy, 3 p.m.
May 3 at Battle Mountain, 3 p.m.
May 5 at Eagle Valley, 4 p.m.
May 5 at Eagle Valley, TBD
May 9 vs. Battle Mountain, 2 p.m.
May 11 at Longmont, 4 p.m.
May 13 vs. Steamboat Springs, 1 p.m.
May 13 vs. Steamboat Springs, TBD
May 15 vs. Rifle, 3:30 p.m.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.
Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.