There will not be much rest for the Yukon baseball players, as less than two weeks after having their spring season come to an end in the state semifinals, the Millers will open their summer season.
Head coach Kevin James said he’s looking forward to the start of summer ball.
“I think it is good to get back out there,” James said. “It’s important to make sure we appreciate the seniors once the season is over and we always do that. Once school is out, it’s good to get back out on the field and start building for next year.”
The Yukon summer baseball teams will begin play this coming Friday and play through June 28. It will be an important summer for the Millers, as they will have to incorporate several new pitchers into the fold going into the regular season next spring.
James said he looks forward to seeing what his young pitchers can do this summer.
“We had a young team going into the year but the majority of the seniors we had on the roster were pitchers,” James said. “This summer will be a chance for these young guys to show what they are capable of going into next season.”
Yukon was young on the diamond in 2017 and had a solid year with a 28-10 overall record, a district championship, a regional championship and a semifinal berth in the state tournament.
James said he is proud of how his team performed in 2017.
“You know, I thought we had a pretty good year,” James said. “Considering how young we were to begin the season and to win 28 games is something we can be proud of as a group.”
The Millers will return the majority of the starters in the field and in the lineup but on the mound, Yukon will have to replenish the pitching staff once again.
James said it’s never easy to rebuild but he looks forward to the process.
“It’s always a challenge,” James said. “The summer is a great place to start that process. It gives us an idea of what our staff will look like next spring. It’s not the ultimate decision maker but it starts in the summer.”
Yukon loses Cross Factor, Brayden Alberson, Caleb Olson, Connor Phinney and Adam Sanderson off the pitching staff that surprised a lot of people in 2017.
James said replacing the seniors is going to be tough to do.
“The one thing about those guys is they are all about the same,” James said. “They are all just solid, dependable guys that you can put on the mound and trust them to go get it done. We were pretty deep on the mound this year and that is always tough to replace.”
There will be four total summer baseball teams for Yukon in 2017. There will be a varsity team, a varsity two team, a junior varsity team and a junior high team.
Each team will play close to 30 games this summer depending on how the weather cooperates.
James said summer ball is about learning and getting better.
“Our goal is to get better every summer,” James said. “Both as a team and as individuals, we want to get better. Of course, we want to win every time we take the field but we also want to make sure we are getting better every time we take the field.”