Montrose baseball team establishes unity, is primed for stellar season
High school baseball teams are developed the summer before the spring season. During those dog days, teams will play as many as 50 games, not only honing their fundamentals, but bonding as a team.
That’s when the Montrose High School baseball team gets to work. When the summer season is over, a majority of the players move on to a fall, then a winter sport.
Despite the long layoff from swinging a bat or playing catch, second-year Montrose coach Landon Wareham knows the base established in the summer is always there.
“With as many games as we played with this group the past two summers, they know how to play ball,” Wareham said. “It’s hard during the normal high school season because you get 19 games. It’s the summer when they play 50 games that we get so much better.”
Wareham has been a large reason for the program’s turnaround. The Indians were 6-13 the year before Wareham, who starred at Olathe High School before becoming an All-American at Mesa State College, arrived. Last season, Montrose finished 8-9 and made the Class 4A playoffs, winning its first round-game against Fort Lupton 13-7.
This year, Montrose should continue to improve with a majority of its starters returning.
“We are deep,” Wareham said. “We have 10 guys who started at least 50 percent of the season last year, and we have all of our arms back.”
This season has started well for the Indians, who won their first game against Eagle Valley 6-3. Last Friday, Montrose improved to 2-0 with a 14-2 win over Woodland Park in the Bill Fanning Classic. Wareham said people have started to notice the Indians’ success.
“We had our first home game (against Eagle Valley), and I bet we had close to 350 people there, and I’ve never seen it like that,” Wareham said. “It was awesome, and we are trying to do our part to keep it going.”
Montrose is led by seven seniors, including Jeremy Storter, an all-SWL selection last season.
The Indians also have a solid group of juniors in Nathan Robertson, Roland McLaren and Bryce Gaber.
McLaren, an all-conference outfielder last season, said what makes the Indians strong is their cohesiveness.
“We’ve played together for five years, and it’s basically the same team,” McLaren said. “We want to keep getting better and stronger, and just do the best we can.”
Offensively, the Indians should have enough to compete with most teams, but it’s the pitching staff that has Wareham excited. A half-dozen pitchers are fairly interchangeable, with Robertson, Storter, Glayden Berry, Bryce Gaber, Jake Plankis and Zane Hemond.
“We don’t have a clear-cut guy that’s our Friday night guy, but we also don’t drop off,” Wareham said. “We have one guy that’s a lefty, one guy’s a side-armer, so it depends on what we want. None of them are overpowering, but they all give us a good chance to win.”
Montrose will be busy during spring break week, hosting Paonia today before playing in the Broomfield tournament beginning Thursday.