South Fork Baseball 2017 Preview
The South Fork Cubs are the reigning champions of the Humboldt Del Norte Little Four Baseball Conference and with 6 solid returners including last year’s league MVP, they figure to be in the running for a repeat performance.Head Coach Andy Olsen has scheduled some tough opponents early in the season to give his squad a measuring stick of what their potential may be. “Our confidence will come if we do well against tough opponents, and if we do what we’re supposed to do we have a good chance of winning the league again,” he said.
With last year’s league MVP junior RHP Scott Coffelt (8-5, 2.51 ERA last year) and sophomore LHP CJ Van Meter (7-1, 2.72 ERA last year) leading the way on the mound, “No one is going to take us lightly,” added Olsen.
Because of new pitching rules this year, Coffelt and Van Meter will have a lot of help. “Everyone who possibly can is going to do some pitching this year,” said Olsen. The rule involves required rest periods when a player’s pitch count reaches a certain number. Depending on how the weather rearranges the schedule, the new rule could force teams to use a lot of creativity to put their best guys on the mound.
“These rules come about when teams have been over-throwing their guys and risking injury,” said Olsen.
The Cubs will have four freshmen joining the team this year. Eric Baldwin is likely to play a little second base and do some back-p catcing as well as a bit of pitching.Jayden Paine is one of the team’s fastest players and will play second base and center field.
Ayden Butterworth-Bignon is a lefty and will do some pitching and play the corner outfield spots.Kaden Pogue is the likely starter at 3rd base, taking his cousin and 2016 grad Donovan’s place, and will do some pitching.
Returning sophomores include last year’s all-county catcher Cody Wyatt. Wyatt will also do a bit of pitching this year and will bat second.
Cooper Scott will be playing short and hitting in the lead-off spot. Scott can play 5 different positions.
Van Meter will pitch and play center field. He’ll hit in the clean-up spot.
New to the team this year is Dylan Music who will pitch and play a little outfield.
Returning juniors include the ace Coffelt, who will play short when not on the mound. Coffelt has already been working out and strengthening his arm, even while playing a vital role on the basketball team that just went to the section play-offs. Coffelt will bat 3rd.
Colten Gurreri will play in the outfield and be the team’s go-to pinch runner as one of the faster players.
Aaron Etherton will play right field, do a little pitching and will bat 5th. “He’s a strong kid who hits the ball hard,” said Olsen.
New to the team this year will be Gabe Malley who hasn’t played baseball since his Babe Ruth League days. He will play a little second base, outfield, and do some pitching.
Ipo Savoie is the only returning senior and will play first base and pitch in relief. He’ll hit sixth.
Levi Humphrey will be joining the team for the first time and has some little league experience to draw on. He’ll play 3rd base, a little outfield and will do some pitching.
The Cubs have been battling the weather to get practices in, and the forecast over the next few weeks is not great for baseball. Nevertheless, the team is scheduled to open the season Wednesday, March 8 against Fortuna at Newburg park at 4 p.m.
The home opener will be a double header on Tuesday, March 14 against Potter Valley with the first game starting at 2 p.m. Be sure to call the school for weather-related updates: 943-3144.