Photo by Andrew Ottoson
The Rams line their new dugout fence to cheer teammates at bat.
As of Tuesday, March 17, 2015
KOOSKIA — Stirrings of life came to the Clearwater Valley early this year, and not just because spring weather arrived sooner than expected.
As anticipated, coach Josh Bradley’s baseball team returns much of the squad that rattled off a seven-game winning streak to reach the district title game late last year.
But better yet, Bradley’s Rams finished up a facility improvement project before the season opener last Monday, March 16. For the first time, CV’s field features proper dugouts and bullpens, with chainlink fence giving the place a more formal atmosphere than the old open-air benches ever allowed.
While March typically tests field managers with frequent rain — and while even a light shower might have forced an early cancellation — the weather held off for CV’s return to the field. With a perfect scene set for the rematch against much the same Genesee team that locked the Rams out of the state tournament, CV played a bit below the high expectations Bradley has set.
“Kyle [Westhoff] obviously does a great job at Prairie,” Bradley said. “Genesee has a great squad. But I think we’re going to be right there at two or three in the league.”
With a number of gifted players among the 17 on CV’s roster, the Rams are primed to contend, even in a league that features the defending state champions at Prairie.
CV is looking for its only senior, Kaden Carr, to anchor the leadoff spot as well as center field with his speed.
“He’s a heck of an athlete,” Bradley said. “His on-base percentage was very high. He’s really worked on his hitting, and he and others are hitting tough in practice.
Bradley holds out praise for many players on the roster, and he’ll be looking for battery man Cody Morrow to provide strong leadership pitching and catching.
“Cody is a phenomenal ballplayer and person,” Bradley said.
In the first game of the season, CV started Kieran Owens, who limited Genesee’s output despite balking four times in front of a defense that committed six errors. The Rams briefly took a 4-3 lead when Owens and sophomore Trevor Wilson drove in runs during the third inning.
Wilson “has really stepped up his game since his freshman year and I'm excited to see what he does this season,” Bradley said.
Coming — Clearwater Valley (0-1) was rained out of its March 17 home game against Highland. The Rams will host Prairie on Thursday, March 19, at 4:30 p.m. CV has home games scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday against Troy and 4:30 p.m. Monday against Nezperce.