VETERENS LEAD TIGERS
By Pat Perkins
Observer Staff Writer
Experience will be important and plentiful for the La Grande High School baseball team this season.
There are just a lot of returning people that played last year, La Grande coach Dennis Young said.
For starters, starting pitchers Corey Royal, Adam Kleck and Aaron Thomas all return from the 2001 squad that reached the Class 3A quarterfinals and finished 17-12.
The middle of the infield is an experienced pair as well. Shortstop Zack Glasser and second baseman Jason Smith return there, with Thomas playing behind them in center field when hes not pitching.
Sophomore Kelly Moore is behind the plate, and Young has high hopes for his contributions to the defense.
As soon as Kelly Moore gets some more experience, well be extremely strong up the middle, Young said.
Going into todays tournament in Nampa, Idaho, the Tigers are 1-2, with the losses to Pendleton and the win over Weiser, Idaho.
Glasser and Smith are leading the hit parade with five hits in three games.
Other seniors who played on last years varsity squad include utility player Tanner Mellinger and outfielder Rob Searles. The teams other seniors are pitcher/first baseman Alex Arritola and infielder Cody Periman, who already has a home run and four RBIs.
Junior catcher Jeremy George, along with Glasser, Smith, Mellinger, Royal, Kleck and Thomas, were members of La Grandes American Legion team that won the regional title last summer.
Weve got guys that are stepping back in and doing a good job, Young said.
Junior infielder Kyle Bomberger and junior third baseman/pitcher Kenny Haggerty round out the varsity, with sophomore outfielder Brenton Dowdy splitting time between varsity and junior varsity.
For now, Young is emphasizing the process over the outcome when it comes to achieving success.
Balls will fall in if youre working really hard, he said. Good things will happen.