Salt River Junior High's Eagles baseball team made it to the tournament playoffs and won their first game on May 4. The team started off the season with 15 players who were mostly learning the basics of baseball, such as the positions and just the game itself. "We had a lot of work to do," said Head Coach David Schumacher. "About three or four of the players have had some experience playing baseball. We had some upperclassmen, which was helpful, as well as the coaching assistants, Eric Udell and Simon Smith, who were able to help out," Schumacher added.
Throughout the baseball season, the junior Eagles went up and down, winning and losing games, but the boys made a lot of improvements by working extremely hard at getting the game right. Schumacher said the Eagles mainly had to improve on their hitting. "Fielding they picked up real fast-where to throw the ball, and to what base, and also base running," he said.
The players that had experience were some of the team's strongest hitters, like Robert Norris and John Hill. And there were a lot who improved as the season went on, like Christian Manymules and James Apodaca, who turned out to be a real aggressor and a good hitter for the junior Eagles, Schumacher said.
The team's pitchers were Robert Norris, John Hill and Jonathan Loring; the catchers were Eugene Lewis, Robert Norris and John Hill.
"We had a very good season as far as wins and losses go, with a 7-3 record. Plus we won our first playoff game," said Schumacher.
After winning their first games, it gave the team some confidence and hope throughout the rest of the season.
"They were a team that never gave up. What I am most impressed with is that the team was able to bounce back after they had a loss, and even come back with two or three victories at a time. They were a team that really didn't know how to quit-they just kept fighting," Schumacher said. The junior Eagles worked hard and did their best to listen to their coaches. A lot of the team members were learning the game of baseball and took to the instruction just fine.
Although the junior eagles won their first tournament playoff game, unfortunately it was too good to be true-the team did not have enough players who would be eligible to play in the tournament. "So we ran into some ineligibility and could not continue in the tournament," said Schumacher.
This is the first year that Schumacher has been the head coach of the team; for the last two years he has been the assistant coach. "It was a good experience for me," he said. "It was enjoyable-I enjoyed working with my assistant coaches as well. I learned a lot, the team learned a lot, and we learned how to play as a team."
Schumacher is in his third year of teaching seventh-grade social studies at Salt River High School; he has taught social studies for 15 years. He also teaches History of the Cinema, an elective course for students in seventh and eighth grade.
The Salt River Junior High Eagles Baseball Team
Jacob Juan, grade 6
James Apodaca, grade 7
Alex Apodaca, grade 8
John Hill, grade 8
Blaine Hillis, grade 8
Eugene Lewis, grade 8
Jonathan Loring, grade 8
Christian Manymules, grade 8
Calvin Maynard, grade 8
Jose Meraz-Rios, grade 8
Robert Norris, grade 8
Lucas Seepie, grade 8