The sounds of spring are in the air on the hill as Virgin Valley High School athletes began spring sports. The sound of leather on leather, the crack of a bat and the familiar “play ball” brings life once more to the diamonds.
Despite an overall record 12-65 and 6-32 in 1-A Sunrise League play the past three years, this year’s version of Bulldog baseball has no way to go but up. Last year’s team featured five freshman, three sophomore and six juniors. They are all a year older, stronger and most importantly love the game.
Coach Justin Goodsell and his assistants greeted 28 young men Saturday Feb. 27 who hope to gain spots on this year’s varsity roster. Coach Goodsell and assistants Jeff Jensen, Travis Eaton, Joe Wright and Mike Kazak put the players through arm strength exercises, sprints and the basics of “America’s Pastime,” baseball.
Goodsell explained to the kids his philosophy of the game and what he expects from each of them and that he and the coaches are available at any time for counseling or help. He also explained that he and his staff will be choosing the varsity and J.V. squads after the first few days of practice.
Returning from last year’s squad are seniors Jairo Vallejos, Marcelo Lara, Koby Smothers, juniors Layton Woods, Alec Brandes and Chris Felix plus sophomores Jayden Perkins, Cade Anderson, Jason Brooks and Dillan Fuqua. Joining them in practice from last year’s J.V. squad including Dallen Tanner, Josh Abbott, Jacob Ruvalcaba and Easton Jensen.
“Cade, Dillan, Koby, Jason and maybe others will be handling the pitching duties,” said Goodsell. “We should show major improvement this year. The kids played together all summer, they are stronger and have high confidence in this year’s season. They love the game and now it’s up to me and my staff. Good coaching will make them better.”
The Bulldogs kick off the season March 10 in the first annual Alumni Baseball Game.