SHELLEY — Shelley has struggled a bit with the pains of youth in prep sports so far this school year. It is looking like same-old, same-old for Shelley High School as the seasons change and the sports move from boys’ basketball to baseball.
The Russets will be facing a 4A schedule and the pitching that comes with it, and there is a significant difference between 3A and 4A which the young Russets will find out.
Young is what the Russets will be this year, with only four returning varsity players having tried out for the team. Of those, only sophomore catcher Austin Bateman is a returning full-time starter. The others are senior first baseman Conner Malcolm, who also has the most power on the team; Trey Lott, a senior pitcher and outfielder; and Carsten Lindsay, a senior third baseman.
The rest of the everyday positions and pitching prospects will all be newcomers to the team, and with that much youth, it will give a lot of time and gaining of experience to a good group that will carry the Russets’ winning traditions forward into a new era.
“I think that we will need a bunch of juniors and sophomores to really step up if we are going to be competitive,” head coach Wally Foster said. “We didn’t get all of the numbers try out for baseball that we thought we would get and that has left us a bit shorthanded, but these are tough kids and we will be just fine.”
Some of the names that fans will want to watch out for include junior Zach Esplin, a pitcher and infielder that has looked really good during tryouts; junior infielder/pitcher Jeremy Burton, who has an explosive fastball; junior Blake Leal, a pitcher and infielder; and his younger brother Jarret Leal, who has a lot of baseball savvy and can play either in the infield or outfield and will be a good catcher as well.
The complete list of players who can be expected to see a lot of varsity action will include: Conner Malcolm, Austin Bateman, Zach Esplin, John Kerner, Kaden Waite, Jarret Leal, Nathan Larkin, Trey Lott, Blake Leal, Jeremy Burton, Dallin Stein, Creighton Ball and Carsten Lindsay.
The schedule is tough, but there are a few spots where the players can catch their breath.
2019 SHELLEY RUSSET BASEBALL SCHEDULE
Tuesday, March 12 Rigby AWAY 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 14 Madison HOME 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26 Bonneville AWAY 3 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26 Bonneville AWAY 5 p.m.
Wednesday, March 27Bonneville HOME 3:30 p.m.
Friday, March 29 Firth AWAY 3:30 p.m.
Friday, March 29 Firth AWAY 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2 Skyline AWAY 4 p.m.
Wednesday April 3 Skyline HOME 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 3 Skyline HOME 5:30 p.m.
Friday, April 5 Rigby AWAY 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 11 Hillcrest AWAY 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 11 Hillcrest AWAY 5:30 p.m.
Friday, April 12 Hillcrest HOME 4 p.m.
Tuesday, April 16 Thunder Rid AWAY 3:30 p.m.
Friday, April 19 Blackfoot AWAY 3:30 & 5:30
Saturday, April 20 Blackfoot HOME 11 a.m.
Wednesday, April 24 Idaho Falls AWAY 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 25 Idaho Falls HOME 3:30 & 5:#0