KIMBERLY • Walk, passed ball, walk, dropped pop-out. Repeat.
Cue the Bad News Bears.
Spring baseball in Idaho can be brutal.
With relatively few days to practice, and in cold, windy conditions, the Kimberly Bulldogs beat the Wendell Trojans 16-7 Wednesday afternoon, a game that took nearly three hours.
The first inning lasted an hour... which saw just three hits.
It’s all up from here.
“We are better than we showed tonight,” Kimberly head coach Doug Meyer said. “We are too good to play like that again.”
There’s plenty of reason to believe the Bulldogs — despite the lopsided win — played one of their worst games of the season, with numerous errors and errant pitching.
Last year, the Filer Wildcats snapped Kimberly’s six year reign as conference and district champions. The Bulldogs lost a play-in game to Snake River, missing the state tournament for the first time in seven years.
A down season by Kimberly standards gave opportunity to a crop of underclassman.
Juniors Braden Coronado, Canyon Olsen and sophomore Lars Christiansen all got crucial experience last year (and in Coronado’s case, the last two years), and look to be at the core of a Kimberly team that not even Meyer is sure how good it can be.
“If we can put it all together, we have a lot of options,” Meyer said. “I was worried this year that we wouldn’t be able to play defense. Now I want to make sure we’re hitting the ball.”
Kimberly will have five to six pitchers on any given day, two from the left-side.
Five-year Wendell head coach Marty Hurd — the skipper of a squad that traditionally takes off in the second half of the season — still doesn’t know what he has.
Seven of his players are currently injured, including perhaps his best— Bryce Jon. An extremely young group will need to get healthy and develop over the coming weeks in order to keep the second-half tradition strong.
“We have 6-7 seniors on this team, and they all play basketball,” Hurd said. “Arms are out of shape. And we are pretty young. There is nervousness and intimidation early in the season. We just hope we don’t lose anymore, and that we can continue to developing our starters. Right now, our seniors are trying to hold it together.”