In first real taste of varsity baseball, Begg, Woods lifting Central

John Woods hits the ball during batting practice in the batting cage at Central High School.

Dylan Begg’s home run in his first varsity at-bat helped the Central High School senior clear more than one fence.

Begg spent the previous three years playing on the freshman and junior varsity baseball teams, so when the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Begg cleared the wall at Suplizio Field, it relieved a lot of pressure.

“I was nervous because it was my first varsity game,” Begg said. “After hitting a home run in my first at-bat, I could breathe a little easier.”

Despite not getting any varsity at-bats until this season, Begg has played well, hitting .600 with three extra-base hits and three stolen bases.

“I knew this year was going to be my chance, so I prepared for that,” Begg said. “I have learned to stick with baseball and just keep working hard.”

Begg is not the only green varsity player to come up big for the Warriors. The entire varsity roster is comprised of first-time varsity starters except for the lone returning starter, Travis Key. Among the new varsity players are five seniors who have spent their careers either playing strictly JV or
seeing occasional time on varsity.

“This has kind of been the class that has been overlooked,” Central coach Chuck Yost said. “But they have come out and done a phenomenal job and we have talked that they would have to prove themselves.”

Central plays valley rival Palisade at 6 this evening at Suplizio Field. The teams added the game because the final day of the Bill Fanning Classic was canceled by snow.

After losing their season opener 14-7 to Woodland Park, the Warriors rattled off four straight wins, including scoring a combined 45 runs during a three-game winning streak over Rangeview, Pueblo West and Hinkley.

The success has come with senior varsity players who aren’t dripping with varsity experience but who were able to hone their skills playing junior varsity. For someone like Begg, the time on JV allowed him to mature from a pudgy underclassman into a towering, power-hitting first baseman.

“When he was a freshman, he was uncoordinated and kind of dumpy,” Yost said. “But he grew and got into the weight room and now has a lot of confidence and you see it on the field.”

John Woods is another senior who is thriving in the varsity spotlight. Woods was a wunderkind pitcher as a freshman but after arm trouble forced him to sit out his sophomore season, Woods took some time to get his game back up to speed.

Now one of the Warriors’ starting pitchers, Woods has 14 strikeouts in eight innings of work.

“As a freshman, Johnny Woods had a great curveball and we were saying he is going to do some things for us,” Yost said. “But then he didn’t come out as a sophomore because of his arm and as a junior he was kind of a step behind last season. He is now back on track.”

Woods said he spent his time last season on junior varsity trying to work on every facet of his game.

“I focused on everything I didn’t do well,” Woods said. “This year everyone has been working hard and I think it is going to pay off for everyone.”

Woods, Begg, Key, Kyle Brown, Nick Orman and Alex Heide make up the six seniors who have been providing the leadership this season. Begg said the six seniors, along with talented underclassmen like Scott Clow and Spencer Hicks, have the Warriors feeling confident.

“A lot of the guys that have been (contributing) are in their first year of varsity playing time,” Begg said. “I think if we continue to play up to our potential, we can beat any team out there.”


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