The Salt River High School junior high boys baseball team ended their season in the Charter Athletic Association (CAA) State Tournament on Tuesday, May 1, after losing to the No. 1 seeded Heritage Academy 10-0. It was the teams’ third match-up of the season.
On Saturday, April 28, Salt River won their first game in the tournament against the ninth seed, Destiny-Globe, with a score of 11-4.
“I am very proud of them and I’m very happy to see them come quite a long way in a short time,” said Coach Simon Smith. “We only had about 10 games this season; we had some cancellations. They had long practices this season; the scorebook will show that they have improved with their throwing and hitting.”
Some players on the team started this year from square one, with no baseball experience. The coaching staff helped them learn how to throw, catch and get in a batter’s box and hit. Some boys had never been on a pitcher’s mound or worn catcher’s gear before. They got the opportunity on this team.
“That’s one good thing about our program,” said Smith. “Players who have never played baseball before or pitched on a high school–regulation field, they get to do that and experience that here. We do our best to teach them the basics so they can go on and play on the high school level or farther. We had players who had their first hit ever this season; Skyler Santeo had a couple of strikeouts in his first time pitching. Those are successes too; it’s not just winning a conference championship.”
Smith hopes that the eighth-graders will take the knowledge and skills they’ve developed and go on to play high-school baseball. Next year, about eight or nine players will return to the team.