Preview: Prescott baseball returns for Memorial Day Tournament
PRESCOTT — Prescott baseball is back at it again as the Badgers will open thier summer season by hosting a 15-team, wood-bat Memorial Day Tournament from Saturday to Monday at Prescott High School, Chino Valley High School and Yavapai College.
After an early exit in the first round of the 4A state championship playoffs in early May, coach Kent Winslow and the Badgers will return to the diamond this weekend, looking to keep their reflexes sharp and begin developing team chemistry for next season.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of break, but we had a whole lot more break than some of the teams coming up who played a lot deeper in the playoffs, so it’s good to get started again,” Winslow said on reuniting with his team. “But it’ll be good for our guys just to get a look at teams that are out of our region, out of our classification, so it will be extremely competitive.”
And as Winslow alluded to, Prescott will have its hands full with stiff competition, including teams like 6A state champions Hamilton, 4A state champions Salpointe Catholic, and 6A playoff regulars Desert Vista and Skyline. All aforementioned squads will be in Pool A with Prescott while the other the other 10 teams will be split up in Pool B and Pool C.
Practically all of the Badgers’ starting crew from the 2019 season will be back minus star pitcher Jake Schulz, Ray Chairez and Slater Krupnick, who all graduated this year. Catcher Ashton Hubbs, first baseman Korey Schwartz, second baseman Ethan Peña, shortstop Jacob Police, third baseman Colby McBeth, left fielder Cooper Wells, center fielder Luke Fredrick and right fielder Rhett Pearce will all be retuning for the tournament.
As far as pitching goes, Winslow will mainly be looking to his up-and-coming players such as Tyson Potts, Elvis Hauptman, and Ben Schwartz, Korey Schwartz’s younger brother. Peña, Police and Fredrick will also see some time on the bump while Korey Schwartz will mostly come in as relief.
The Badgers will open the tournament against Hamilton/Silver on Saturday at 8 a.m. and then take on Skyline at 5:20 p.m. On Sunday, the team will be up early again to play Salpointe Catholic at 8 a.m. and wrap things up against Desert Vista at 5:20 p.m.
All Pool A games will take place at Prescott High School while Pool B and Pool C games will take place at Chino Valley High School and Yavapai College, respectively.
Due to the odd number of teams in the tournament, Prescott will not be playing on Monday unless another team can’t participate for any reason.
Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.