About the time Punxsutawney Phil is looking for his shadow, pitchers and catchers pop up out of their hole and start to stretch-out and limber-up. The Feb. 19 reporting date for pitchers and catchers in the major leagues is creeping up fast and baseball season is beginning the march to October while sneaking up on the post Super Bowl lull.
If the UVU baseball team shows up Feb. 19, they will have already missed their first two games against Seattle. Believe it or not, the back-to-back Great West Conference champs will throw out the first pitch of the 2012 season three days after Valentines.
As exciting as that may seem for all those baseball die-hards, the first home stand won’t be played until March 22, leaving the UVU Review as one of your only places to run to in search of team stats and what players are emerging as interests to pro scouts.
UVU landed three local prospects that will figure into the teams long term plans, 6-5 pitcher Danny Beddes, 6-6 power hitter Mark Krueger, and defensive specialist at third base, Beau Kallas. Head coach Eric Madsen talked about the significance of the signees with wolverinegreen.com.
“We signed three very talented local high school players who are all great kids with a lot of character and take academics very seriously,” Madsen said. “It gives us another good recruiting class and they’re kids who are excited to be in the program and be a part of what we’re building here at UVU.”
Academics are vital, and character puts a team over the top, but it doesn’t hurt that all three made both the all-region and the all-state teams. The trio garnered some attention from some big-time programs. BYU, Utah and Stanford are among those that courted the players prior to their signing at UVU.
The Wolverines will be looking to find a replacement for senior outfielder Chris Benson. During the 2011 season Benson hit .400 and landed at the No. 3 spot in the nation for number of hits with 100. He was also named to the American Baseball Coaches Association Midwest All-Region second team for the second consecutive year.
Finding someone to step into the shoes he left behind will be harder than looking for a groundhogs shadow, but Wolverines tend to look a little harder.
As baseball season heads around the corner, get loose and limber up, first pitch is headed right over the plate.
By Jonathan Boldt