Panthers baseball hopes for success

Core group of juniors and seniors will lead 2013-14 team

Joe White warms up with the rest of the team for practice at McAndrew Field. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Joe White warms up with the rest of the team for practice at McAndrew Field.

Competing in the always-tough Southwest League, the Montezuma-Cortez High School baseball team has not historically been strong.

Armed with a group of talented players and motivated second year manager Matt Betts however, the upcoming season offers hope for the Panthers.

“We’ve got a really good core group,” said Betts. “They have seen very good opponents and they know what it takes to compete at higher levels.”

Leading the way for this year’s team will be a group of talented juniors headed by outfielder Randy Haley and pitcher Konnar McGee.

Haley promises to provide solid hitting and excellent speed on the base paths while McGee figures to anchor the Panthers’ pitching rotation.

“(McGee) has a pretty good total package,” explained Betts. “He has a very good mental game and he understands how to command a game and work hitters.”

Also figuring to make a major impact for the Panthers this season are seniors Joe White, Dane Black and Keenan Ralstin.

“We’re expecting big things,” said White. “We have our teammates from summer ball here and we have a good team. Overall, it should be a pretty good season.”

Regardless of the team’s talent however, success will not come absent an ability to play a full seven innings.

“Last year, we competed with every team we played against for about five innings,” said Betts. “This year, they’ve got to keep their intensity and play for seven innings.”

After kicking off the season with a home scrimmage against Pagosa Springs on March 8, the Panthers will travel to Kirtland on March 10 for their regular season opener.

“We’re going to have to have a lot of discipline and work real hard,” said Ralstin.

With any luck, that season will be a solid one for the Panthers.